Whored Out Heart at the Corner of BDFM & Broadway 

Leia K. Bradley

Bobby Marie’s from California, drives a Mercedes Benz. 

Bobby Marie, I could love you for the rest of your life 

if I stepped inside your world and stood there long enough 

for you to leave your husband, for you to leave that world for mine, 

for sex and leather and you 

could make the money or we could be broke together, you 

with the cheekbones and the bangs and the vanilla ice cream voice, you— 

You’re New York City, you say, without an ounce 

of irony, orgeat eyes agleam. 

—When I fuck you are you imagining 

fucking the whole tri-state area, every thrust 

an explosion into a different borough? Corset flung off in Manhattan, 

ripped fishnets in Brooklyn, throwing a heel 

out of a 4th floor window in the Bronx 

in the hurry to strip and suck— 

When I fuck you do you replace the BDFM train line to BDSM when I fuck you 

I hope I’m not the Empire State 

but the Chrysler, gargoyles poised to attack, art deco til death do us come— 

I’m not even from New York— 

I’m from a tiny town just 45 south 

of blue bumblefuck right off peach nowhere, 

But I know Georgia is not 

on your mind—sure, 

I’m New York City, I 

am the city I am all 

skyline, no cross streets, undefinable, 

a beautiful idea— 

Does the map of the Kosciuszko look good on me? Would you prefer 

the BQE— 

You say you’ll have to ask your husband forgiveness not permission 

to kiss me 

and I know this is not big city rush hour 

this is 2 AM on a gravel road with bald tires. 

Look, when a beautiful woman says buy me shots, 

you buy the beautiful woman shots— 

but I don’t want to be a whole city, 

I just want to be a woman you could touch 

without guilt, 

without me having to play the illusion. It’s all 

cinematic, it’s all planned, I’m not 

real, but you don’t want that, you want 

the ideal— 

I could swallow you 


so tonight I am New York City 

ripe as summer and raunch with stench, a streetlight 

at dawn 

still on, flickering with 

trying not to double over with obvious, looming grief— 

This morning I am laying down on the tracks in the syllables you wreak, to kiss a girl like I’m an exciting new commodity to be tried on, tried out, I 

could be your first, the seductress, the one 

who turned you out, gift-wrapped in thigh high stockings and smears 

of red on your neck, darling, I’m asking why 

can’t I just be a woman who thinks you’re beautiful 

and wants to tell you that ninety-six different ways 

outside the 96th street station— 

when you touch me you are not 

touching Lady Liberty, I am not a lady 

I’m a loud-mouthed bitch who wants to make you laugh— 

and maybe I’ll keep up the pretense, maybe 

I’ll perform for you again, live it out 

just to feel the pain from the lie 

gouge deeper, cleaner, an ecstatic 

level of inevitability to watch you walk away 

when you realize 

I am just a woman. Not 

a whole city, not even a borough or a side street, if anything, 

I am a subway station, I 

am Times Fucking Square, 

the garbage, the vomit, the urine, the come 

—the big city whore I am, sure, I’ll buy you another shot, 

another, or whatever you want 

because I’m the man you want 

but better—would you like 

my mouth or my strap on first, I’m Union Square, I’m Saint Marks Place, 

saintless, I’m sixth avenue at 3 AM calling someone else, anyone else, saying please come meet me—

I don’t want to go home alone— 

and if I go home with you I’ll be 


and I don't tell you, or that someone else I called, or anyone 

that this aching roar in my shoulders needs a new name, polysyllabic, enough to carry all the nuance and deadweight— 

Bobby Marie, for you 

I whored out my heart 

and when they brought the check, you didn’t even offer 

to pay.

Leia K. Bradley (they/she) is a backwoods Georgia born, Brooklyn based lesbian writer and performance artist and an MFA Poetry candidate at Columbia University, where she also was awarded the Undergraduate Writing Teaching Fellowship for 2023-24. She has work in Poetry Project, Aurore, Wrongdoing Magazine, Ghost City Press, Tarot Literary, Versification, and more, with her poem "Settle(d)" chosen as the Editor's Choice Best Overall pick for Penumbra Magazine's 2022 Pride issue.  She can be found dancing through candlelit speakeasies or climbing barefoot up a magnolia tree with a tattered copy of Stone Butch Blues tucked into her dress. After climbing out from the coffin of her first divorce, she is accepting love and lust letters through her twitter @LeiaKBradley or instagram @MadameMort.