Hot Pocket Annie Queen of Broadway


She only existed under the neon

swirl of Broadway

between 42nd and 9th

a super billboard of iconic luxury,

she was the freckled faced beauty of

Ralph’s Americana college-cute

the world is safe in Polo dreams

and monogrammed elegance,

her blue ribbon smile cut with Woodberry pluck,

and her cinema curls sprayed with Nantucket goodness

but underneath the fried stench of food stamps

and the real face of Broadway spits through —

her face was ripped with open sores and pitted

with pockmark scars,

she tried to hide them with drug store cake mix

but you could still see the those

Iines of swollen sorrow like rotting

worms gorging in poison,

she wore ankle socks slutted

with tide marks

and thrift store shoes limp with no heel

they were two sizes too small,

hammering her toes purple making them

bloody and raw like sodden dandelion heads,

sometimes, she would take them off to let them

breathe dried scabs, forming a line of leeching crusts

across her toes in the rain, all you could see was an overhang

of boiled, pink flesh, like a holiday ham burnt on the rim,

she wore a flimsy cotton dress, well 50% cotton and the rest

polyester it was dank and moist and smelled of

rotten milk and ammonia,

she couldn’t do anything about the yellow sweat stains

that gassed the arms

but to avoid people’s stares and protect her tiny dignity,

she would clutch her

hands in front of her.

She had oversized calloused hands

to fend off revulsion and pity

the kind of pity meated out at a distance,

the kind of pity she detested. Frank was her

sweetheart then Jimmy, and Johnny T

riding the grease pole with fangled

teeth, she lost count of all the promises

they made, then she lost time

until she lost everything that mattered,

hers was the underskirt of

a Pepsi kiss with

no saccharin left

to coat –

her sordid panorama.

She had forgotten when her

birthday was, May or June

she blanked out all the

good stuff: like a bomb

she had exploded into


She didn’t like thinking

about who she was

and how she got there,

scraping the alleyways off

Broadway for empty bottles

and 10 cents cans.

On bright days,

When the sun was bleaching

the buildings with an oily glare

and fried dirt,

she wore fake

raybans, and Ronald McDonald

lipstick, the Betty Jones of her

ghetto tableau; her pork belly

folded over three times had a

mushroom hue and was sagging

with indifference.

She existed on the fringes

of a twilight world,

just a living corpse,

a study in beatnik angst,

material for an Allen Ginsberg wannabe –

her eyes, leaded with grief

and hammered with pain,

the kind that’s punched into you –

leaving her numb and

ripened with hate

3am : underneath the

candy pink glow of

Times Square, lie the

skewered remains of Jane Doe,

a mottled portrait of gloom

fracturing the Manhattan

skyline –

as smoke rings circle the frost bitten air

a police siren switchblades the dawn

party hipsters rubberneck the scene-

there’s nothing to say: a blue veined

reminder of pauper hell.







Saira Viola is a critically acclaimed New York-based poet, author, song lyricist, satirist and creator of literary technique sonic scatterscript. Her work is inspired by her observations of greed and the excess of city life, influenced by an eclectic mix of music and literature. Viola uses artistic references, popular culture, street slang and nature to describe character plot and action. Her work often has social undercurrents and is arced with dark humour and memorable characters. She has published two volumes of pop poetry Fast Food and Gin on the Lawn,  Mini Rebel Book of Poems  and  her crime satire Jukebox scored  top spot  on  UK and US Amazon  #1 best selling satire chart. Her poetry has been widely published  on both sides of the Atlantic including: Push, ItInternationalist Times, Gonzo TodaySick LitThe  Dissident Voice, Artvilla, Poetry Times, The Canon MouthDead Snakes Long Press and others. When not penning words on her scripted universe she can be found turning the tongue of cosmic rainbows.