In room 105, Edie's mind is racing like flame. It licks the four walls black.
She is gluing plumes to her eyes, which will open with the dramatic camp and sass of a can-can line.
The candlelight is an old honeydripper. It skims her like a bias-cut; is flattering as a social climber.
On the dresser, her depleted pearls glow like coals. Oil-black tights drop their wicks from the drawers.
When the first room burned, Betsey Johnson bragged that Edie had been wearing one of her dresses.
After the next time, in a floral bikini, Edie will brandish her bandaged hand, bulbous as the head of a match.
She will make it look great. Every boy at Harvard, said a classmate, was trying to save Edie from herself.
She prints her lids with ashen blocks and her wide eyes pop. Musses her hair, Warhol-silver.
She savours, for a moment, a flaming halo. The light in the mirror, flickering, is the colour of warmth.
The Basement Tapes
I lace my clothes with smoke and The Pineapple. Port bottles seal red crescents on your desk.
A kid borrows On the Road and thinks, America. Tom Waits reads a letter from a sad, sad hooker.
A voice warns that the closing doors are temperamental, much like an ageing diva.
On the dirty curve of a closed platform in summer, a dead-eyed Michael Bublé is still dressed for Christmas.
In the tar-dark shed of a smokery, kippers sweat black down their stripped orange torsos.
A crust in the park is torn into crumbs, scattered, and devoured by an almost footless pigeon.
You sit in a garage with Golden Virginia and Dylan. Your beard is like a fox's brush.
At the chewed end of a day, you hug a duvet. I hug a duvet.
Alex Bell lives and works in London. Her poems have appeared in Magma, The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Poems in Which, A Tower Miscellany (Tower Poetry: 2010) and Homesickness and Exile (The Emma Press: 2014). She is co-organiser of the "Eoke" series of poetry and karaoke nights.