Father, I am your misguided disciple. Mentally ill or disturbed, unwholesome, morbid or sadistic; a sick joke, a sick crime, just a puppet, all painted with blacks and reds. You will find me with the camera clubs, the dirty under-belly of the New York glitter, the secret sadomasochistic scene. That thing, stuck to the bottom of the great, 1950’s shoe. Bondage and burlesque, baptisms and bibles, they are all a part of me. ‘Striporama’, ‘Teasorama’, ‘Wink’, ‘Titter’, ‘Eyefull’ and ‘Beauty Parade’, watch me, use me, discard me. Keep me in soggy, cardboard boxes and of course pretend I don’t exist. Glare at my frame through a steamed-up lense, through typical judgment and misunderstanding. Tired eyes, as wide and as wise as baby planets. Lips, bloody petals, bruised by theatre kisses. Hips, sick of swaying and thrusting, longing to be held. Waist, a waspy outline, stuck in leather and corsets and that smile, the smile that has kidnapped that girl, ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ from Nashville, Tennessee. I am Venus, Eve and ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘Miss Pinup Girl of the World’. I am in the thoughts of sweet mothers, clasping their son’s eyes, protecting them from such raw inhibition. I am also in the thoughts of their starving husbands, in long morning showers and suffocating pyjamas. You wish you could erase me, take my final frame, melt it on your Christian fire, yelling Ding Dong the witch is dead! Which old witch? That Playboy witch! See your dilemma is, I’m here and I’ve been around, I’ll linger and leave a bitter taste in your mouth. You’ll catch glimpses of me in those moments that turn you a scarlet-red. That trip up the stairs, that spinach in your teeth, the morning you found those magazines stuffed in your Dad’s shed. I am the awkward and the uncomfortable, the disgusting and the unmentionable. I am the notorious Bettie Page.

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