The Secret Lives Of Shirts Poem by Tony Jolley

The Secret Lives Of Shirts

Rating: 5.0


Folded my shirt for the shelf, and wondered……

In some machine-shop somewhere: India, Malaysia - probably China,
Some poor sod at the sharp end of the piece-work penny
Must have sewed & stitched and collared and cuffed her way
Towards a barely living wage;
And I wondered if she wondered where her output would wind up.

Further down the production line
She was pinned to card in a manner sadistically calculated
To frustrate and cut the fingers of the purchasor,
Cellophaned and slotted in beside 49 other daughters of the ‘grand design’
Then subjected to the unspoken fear
Which is universally known in Shirt-Speak as:
The Despair of the Long Dark,
As the box leaves were closed, one by one,
Blotting out light by quarters in seconds
Until the hard day’s even harder night
Had been sealed inside the box with them like a living nightmare.

Frightened and fork-lifted, stocked and stacked,
They were unceremoniously consigned and crated, labelled and loaded
Then containered and carted off on their long haul to wherever
Nested within a box of boxes like a sorry set of Russian Dolls.
Seven rolling roads and seas and a sharp slit later
Light razored its violence down on them
Making them wince involuntarily at the shock and screw up their button eyes
And before they knew it they were counted and bar-coded,
Priced and prepared for profit
Then displayed under spotlights and lurid ‘come-on’ promotions
To sell themselves to passers-by like pavement whores touting their wares;
Potential ‘clients’ picking them up, manhandling them,
Fondling them under their plastic ‘skirts’ to get a good feel of the goods on offer
And haggling over the price relative to the quality of the ‘services’ promised.

Decision made.
Deal struck.
I paid the price to your high street pimp,
Walked you to my car,
Settled you into the seat beside me
And drove you home.

Pleased with my purchase, yet wanting to reaffirm my decision,
I slipped you out of all your see-through outer layers,
Draped you over a chair-back, compliant and yielding,
Spread you out,
Made you ready for me;
Stripped you slowly,
Enjoying you the more the more naked you became,
Until the moment you were made for arrived
And I slid into you
Feeling you open to accommodate and shape yourself to me.

I watched us writhe together in the mirror:
Watched myself move inside you;
Watched you shift your position to give me greatest pleasure.
You followed my lead:
Never did I sense you were losing my rhythm
Or scratching or chafing as others often do:
Rather you wrapped your warm arms and legs around me,
Held me, caressed me and kissed me
Like the courtesan you were meant to be.

I loved you.

But beware,
I have a harem of former conquests here
Calling upon them as I wish to cater for my needs and desires
When the occasion arises.
You will have to live shoulder to shoulder with them
And learn not be too jealous when I choose one of them over you
To be my consort and companion.

This, will I promise:
That I will love you and keep you
And should I outgrow you,
I promise never to throw you,
But to find a new love for you.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Bill Thomas 12 February 2008

Fun, thought-provoking, sexy & imaginative. Thank you!

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