With sincere affection and admiration for the work of T.S. Geisel; all illustrations done specifically for this presentation by Ricardo Cortés.
When I first joined the Rescue League
The leaders said to me,
“Marcia, you must open up,
The truth will set you free.”
But when I talked about my life
To the assembled band,
They looked at me and sternly said,
“Your story’s much too bland.
“It just won’t do, your tale so tame.
To fight prostitution you must re-frame.”
So, what can I say
To reporters today?
They all want me to say
That I was “prostituted”
And the money I made
By “exploiters” was looted.
But I walked into hooking
Upon my own feet,
And my usual stroll was
On Mulberry Street.
That’s nothing to tell of,
That won’t make the score…
Just a typical street
And a hard-luck-case whore.
That can’t be my story; their interest will fade.
I’ll say that a PIMP forced me into the trade!
He played on my trust, and he threatened to beat,
And he sent me to turn tricks on Mulberry Street.
Yes, the pimp is just fine,
But his method is weak;
Being talked into hooking
Makes me look far too meek.
The story would really be better, I hope
If the pimp had controlled me by giving me dope.
A dope-addled hooker is something to meet,
Looking for johns out on Mulberry Street!
No, that’s much too mundane…
Why not say he used pain?
Brutal beatings are better;
Give the sadists a treat,
To visualize that
On Mulberry Street.
Hold on a minute!
I just had a brainstorm!
It would really feed their tragedy-hunger
If I claimed that I started out very much younger.
It would be a more pathetic scene
If he turned me out at age thirteen.
Hmmmm…a teenage runaway…
But that whole thing’s been done to death;
The runaway hooker on crystal meth.
If I can’t do better, I’m wasting my breath.
If I ponder this problem, I’m sure I can lick it…
A whole GANG of pimps! Now there’s the ticket!
I’ll invent one with plenty of power and size:
I was the white victim of forty brown guys.
And then, just to make them a little more vile,
I’ll say they tattooed me in some branding style.
SAY! That makes a story that no one can beat,
When I say it all happened on Mulberry Street.
But now I don’t know…
It still doesn’t seem right.
Even if I could see fifty clients a night,
Split up so many ways would be income too slight.
It would be worth their fuss
Were there eighty of us!
To provide for that many would take lots of dope;
Half the gang would be needed in order to cope.
I’ll make them drug dealers! Then some of their stash
Can be used for the hookers who bring them more cash.
But for drug-dealing on that kind of scale,
It would make far more sense if they bought it wholesale.
They’re top-level importers, real kingpins of crime,
And they smuggle in girls at the very same time.
But now there’s a hitch of a whole new order;
Mulberry Street isn’t close to the border.
A trafficking business on that kind of scale
Needs special protection, or else it would fail.
Organized crime will do the trick;
Those big-time gangsters are mighty slick -
And shady lawyers don’t miss a trick.
They know just who to lean on, and just who to pay
To ensure the police will not get in their way.
They’re bribed not to see things that just might look “funny”,
And they stick out their hands for a cut of the money.
Other public officials are on the take, too,
In every town in the Red, White and Blue.
And that is a story that NO ONE can beat
When I say that it happens on every street!
The pimps sell their sex-slaves through ads on Backpage,
And they’re fed on dog food, and are kept in a cage.
And that makes a story that’s really not bad!
But it still could be better. Suppose that I add…
…GPS trackers placed in the girls’ purses…
A black magician casting curses…
Each girl makes 300 grand a year…
No time for more, the press is here.
I heard my name called
And I felt my heart sink;
As I walked up the steps
I just couldn’t help think,
“There no way that these writers will buy all this bunk!”
As a sex-trade “survivor”, I knew that I stunk.
But they listened intently
To all I averred,
And I saw they believed me…
Yes, every last word.
I was wholly amazed; were they really this dumb?
Were their critical faculties totally numb?
They started applauding; each rose from his seat,
And continued to clap as they stood on their feet.
What a wonderful day! How it made my heart beat!