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three minutes for three dollars 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    when the economy is down and women are expected to get ahead on their own, the men go off to war and women are suddenly alone trying to make ends meet. in Honolulu, durig World War II the women saw fleets of men sailing in and out of their ports; the police would condone it, it’s good for the military’s morale, so prostitution became legal... and suddently all the women were finally needed for something. but when the ladies of Hotel Street saw literally hundreds of men standing in line around the block, well, they had to come up with a system. this was a business, you see, put your morality on the line: offer three minutes for three dollars. this is a business, you see call it a bull ring or a bull pen but have three rooms in a circle: one for the men to undress and wait in, one for the three monutes, and one to get dressed in before leaving. over a hundred a day is no problem when you check your morals at the door, but you have to keep up the pace: you only have time off for menstration, and they’ll ship you back to the mainland if you don’t follow the police rules. don’t live outside the brothel. don’t shop in the well-known stores or frequent well-to-do restaurants. don’t date anyone, don’t buy property, and don’t mind the disrespect, don’t mind the vulgarity or abuse. and don’t mind the broken heart, or broken body because even though this is a busy time for women these days, someone will come along to take your place if you ever even think of complaining.




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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