Paris was vibrant,

the outskirts, charcoal.

In dark corners

the women in red

lifted skirts for men in top hats.


was a demi-monde beauty,

scarlett dressed and wide-eyed,


They called her,

The men with grasping hands

who were always hungry.

An animal appetite

behind human eyes

A  beast in a suit.

If you listened carefully you could almost hear a hint of a growl

from the corner of his mouth

The sweat on his brow


with a lipstick blood handkerchief


Before he returned home to his wife.

The silk strings on Manon’s corset were

always loose,

Ready for eager  fingertips,

That were too rough.