3 Poems by Sharada Tolton

Pink tampon emitting sparkles, held by green hand on lavender background

Hell Was Gentrified

I took a canal ride through hell
everything was beer-battered
& I was served a plastic straw just to sip the air
I wouldn’t mind the heat
but the place recently got a.c.
all the automatons of sinners were replaced with believers
I told them this is not what I signed up for
can’t I try some hard labor
or atone for my wrongs?
but they said no, kick back & relax

Bathroom Stall Writer’s Block

In the middle of your shift in a bathroom stall sharpening your acrylic nails fastidiously
with an emery board into very jagged points ready to scratch a controversial message in
bubble letters into the door for everyone to read & think about while they pee or change
their tampons to radically change the course of their lives to make them finally spit in the
face of oppression or anyone who ever underestimated them,
a burr forms in your imagination,
the exact nature of your politics becomes hazy
the catalyzing words don’t come to you like they used to so with your pointed fingernails
you just scratch “$$$”

What Happens in the VIP Room?

In our gentleman’s club there’s a spiral escalator that glides to the sky
when we ride it I stand three steps above so your eyes are level with my butt
beyond the clouds, in the privacy of night, the escalator ends
the moon is the madam of our house
she schedules the tides and the fluctuations in my breast size
with a silver key she unlocks our room
64 sq. feet of leather couch & baccarat arabesque crystal chandelier
providing only a sliver of light
enough for you to see me take my shoes off
for you to see my toes and dip them in champagne
suck off the champagne
and write me a blank check


Sharada Tolton is a visual artist, writer, and dancer in Berkeley, California. She is the co-founder and editor of Muff, a print magazine of the new New Age. You can follow her on Instagram at @sirenshores and @muff_mag.

Miriam Rae-Silver is an artist currently painting in oils and making comics. Her work can be seen at miriamraesilver.com.