The City

(Manchester as woman)

She wakes slowly, takes a while to come around, rubbing her eyes wearily as strangers knock at her door. It is too early to let them in. (Not before she has put her face on.)

But she doesn’t mind them waiting, pacing up and down outside. After all, they have come from all over the world. They all have their particular needs.

She is still working class, at heart. A woodbine dangles from the corner of her mouth as she speaks, her stockings are laddered and torn.

But in public, these days, she’s taken to wearing fancy clothes, adopting airs and graces and chameleon-like traits. A fixed, demure smile hiding those dirty thoughts.

Every now and again, though, the mask slips, old habits and all that, and you find that she’s not averse to flipping you a nicotine-stained finger, or thrusting a broken glass into your unsuspecting face.

They continue to knock, loud and impatient. She gets ready. Ready to flirt coyly over cocktails and crêpes. Ready for the rough hands to slip beneath her frock.

She can court you or fuck you. Claim you or kill you. Wrap you up in promises, or in her own, soiled sheets.

image

photograph by Derek Bates