Poetry: Sell Out by Paige Johnson

Sell Out

You’ve never been so excited to disappoint your parents.

It’s an endless process, them making you feel less than.

Yet it makes you laugh, posing for and PMing strangers.

These boys got something better than a bottle of bourbon

Hidden in their closet boxes or creaking nightstands.

ZipLocks full of body parts: Nail clippings and Q-tips

Sent from anonymous cuties aching for extra cash and attention.

You consider these girls an elite clique: pretty as pearls but grounded

by a need to please. “Is this sock smelly enough?” they ask themselves.

“These panties streaked with enough excitement? The photos professional?”


You’ve always been a sucker for irony, class clashes & white-flame car crashes.

I’d think that’d put you on the other side of selling, but you’ve got a mortgage.

Cost of moving on from umbilical cords and wedding bands cut long ago.

Reminds you of bloody baby teeth found in your mother’s sewing chest

Twelve years ago, you experienced the lockjaw jolt, spine tingle,

The sinking shock. An unseemly discovery, things you shouldn’t have seen,

memories tied to sinew you had to tear away with unwarranted assistance.

So, price your words and wear with a barbwire barrier to entry.

Isn’t much, but it threads the needle, keeps your teeth clean,

Your heart-shape box free of debris and fingerprints.


No one’s gonna unearth your secret before you’ve spent a few smiles,

Bought up a black void living space to melt into like ice cream on a cavity.

Keeping busy means keeping current with the fetish trends. This month: Lips.

Floss flecked with spinach, tongue-wrapped tubes of gloss, saliva sold as lube.

If you bubble wrap the mason jars and Handcock the lids with a hearty insignia,

You can call yourself a businesswoman, a shoulder-padded stiletto-sharp trailblazer.  

Put that degree to use, make your perverts proud they got in on the ground floor.

The crust under your soles and the spiteful grit of your teeth ensures success.

The men entrust you with re-choreographing their childhood trauma.

Sparkling in the camera light, you recast yours in soft filters.


Nobody’s daughter, everybody’s type.

Paige Johnson is the editor-in-chief for Outcast-Press, who recently published In Filth It Shall Be Found. She is also currently seeking sex work stories for an anthology entitled Slut Vomit, so degenerates need never not apply.