Strip - Brittany Rose

A sigh of relief
when soft black satin slumps to the ground.
Lace on the floor, with twisted straps,
frayed nylon and curling elastic.
Peeled from the body
it leaves its shadow behind.

A notched spine,
like a swollen fist with
knuckles protruding 
curves the length of
the firmly grooved torso.
A ribcage bound by silky bands,
shows ridged flesh and pink skin
creased like pin-tuck pleats.

As she strips,
she rolls her shoulders and stretches her neck,
extends her arms above her head
as her breasts sit 
heavy and tired.

Four AM - Brittany Rose

When you wake up, the daylight spills in through this window and bathes the spacious double bedroom in warmth.

Unless you can’t sleep through the night, like Jess. When you’re Jess, the stars sit stark against the dark sky, and taunt you. The moon hovers in a mist above the horror branches, laughing. When you’re Jess you stare out over the lawn at four in the morning. You look at the street light, filtering through the hedge leaves and wonder how many days you can go without water before your insides shrivel up and you cark it.

The smoke drifts up from her cigarette held between extended fingers. She rests her chin on her palm, arm bent at the wrist. She tilts her head to one side, and long hair tangles on her shoulder.

...Ri-Ri isn’t scared of Katy Perry’s roaring, Queen B’s going back to the drawing, Lorde smells blood, yeah, she’s about to slay you, kid ain’t one to fuck with when she’s only on her debut...

When you’re Jess, you listen to shitty pop music at top volume and wake your neighbours up. The bass rumbles through the ground and rattles their walls at four in the morning. It makes their ugly, rose-painted chinaware tremble next to the crystal cut wine glasses. And when you’re Jess you really don’t care.

She grinds the cigarette butt into the sea shell that sits on the ledge next to the dried-out potted fern. “Warning: Smoking is highly addictive.”

... and everyone in line in the bathroom, tryna get a line in the bathroom, we all so turnt up here, getting turnt up, yeah...

When you’re Jess, your flatmate rolls his eyes when you ask to pick a song. When you’re Jess you hate it when people start to talk about music. You hate how arrogant your flatmate and his friends are, hate that they think they’re a hardcore band who make Real Music. You hate when they scorn twenty year olds who are a product of the fucked up industry which is turning Disney super stars into “little sluts”. As if Miley's agency and her PR manager are synonymous.

... I know, I know, I know, I know you want me. You’re just a pig inside a human body. Squealer, squealer, squeal out you’re so disgusting. You’re just a pig inside...

Her lighter has a Photoshop-ed bitch in a slut-red bikini. She flicks the flint, once, twice, and the spark catches. She holds the flame to the paper. The tobacco burns behind the shield of her hand, and a stray hair sizzles as it falls into the flame. “Warning: Smoking causes foul and offensive breath.”

...I love it, I love it, I love it when you eat it, I love it when you eat it, I love it when you eat it, suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion...

When you’re Jess, you sit and chain smoke. You sit and breathe in the health warnings. You inhale the thousands of harmful chemicals and cause potential impotency. When you’re Jess you find a twisted amusement in the shock-tactics used on ciggie packs. “Warning: Smoking causes blindness.”

...wanna get dirty, it's about time that I came to start the party, sweat dripping over my body, dancing getting just a little naughty, wanna get dirty...

She sets light to the plastic packaging and watches scorched circles eating the ink on the carton.

…If you want it, lets do it, ride it, my pony, my saddle is waiting, come and, jump on it…

When you’re Jess, you wear a bright pink scarf, the kind that’s a big tube of wool, and smells like stale smoke. You wear fingerless gloves, but your nails still freeze as you smoke out your bedroom window at four in the morning. Your flatmate always give you a hard time about the stench of cigs that coats your room. Gives you a hard time about not having a boyfriend. Gives you a hard time about cutting your hair short. When you’re Jess you can’t understand why your flatmate would bitch about music volume when she spends most Saturday nights screaming the house down like a pornstar on speed. When you’re Jess you don’t understand why your flatmate could idolise Taylor Swift. When you're Jess, you don't care how hypocritical it is to hate your flatmate for her shitty taste in shitty pop music. me a bitch coz I speak what’s on my mind, yeah it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled...

She pulls the window towards her, and twists the latch to lock herself in. She pulls the curtain, flicks off the light and lies in total darkness, listening.

Contributor's Note

Brittany used to dream of being an author when she grew up. She now very much doubts that this will happen, but loves writing anyway.


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