Sweet Painted Lady–A Sonnet

Prostitute being arrested

Image by mrlerone via Flickr

I am resubmitting this for dVerse Poetics http://dversepoets.com where fellow poet, Mark Kerstetter, share his knowledge and talent, inviting us to write from a point of view “other” than our own. I hope many of you will visit and take the challenge. Thank you, Mark.

Sweet Painted Lady
A Sonnet

Ain’t nobody’s damn right to judge my heart,
To guess the whys of things I gotta do,
That ‘cause I walk the streets I’m just a tart.
They can’t see from my sacred point of view.

Got calluses from these damn three-inch heels.
I stink from filthy men I’m s’pposed to please
Who, with rough touches, my self-worth will steal
Then toss me crumpled bills to find release.

The haughty turn away when they pass by.
They snicker, whisper loud, “She’s sold her soul.”
But in my deep-part, truth reminds me why:
My body is not me, my spirit’s whole.

I ain’t whoring for drugs or my own joy.
His daddy split. I’m caring for my boy.


64 thoughts on “Sweet Painted Lady–A Sonnet

  1. Shawna says:

    Strong opening:
    “Ain’t nobody’s damn right to judge my heart,
    To guess the whys of things I gotta do,”

    I think such a life is more complex than one would realize, all the psychological ins and outs, whys, hows, nows and thens. Who am I? Who cares? Nothing is everything anywhere. So many questions, so few mouths truthful enough to answer.

    Nice write. : )

    I have two new poems I’d love your feedback on:


  2. a fun piece, powerful and beautiful confidence and voice.


  3. leah J. Lynn says:

    Such a sad and a true story, that happens to often. Like the realness in work.


  4. Effective change to avery different voice for you. The caring in your heart shines through in the last lines. Circumstances can reduce a woman to this point I think. My mother worried it was so; she said every woman should be prepared to work because anything can happen. She was so right.


  5. hobgoblin2011 says:

    Amazing job Victoria. Perfectly into character, and the last lines made this piece much more than a sketch, it added a whole new dimension to the exercise. Bravo. Amazing job. Thanks


  6. claudia says:

    thanks for painting her with such sensitive brush strokes victoria…no one does a “job” like this for fun – and the ending pierced my heart..hope he understands some day how much she loves him to do this


  7. Wow, this is strong. Anymore, I’m sure that many have resorted to things they never thought they would to feed their children. Definitely makes you think. Sad, sad stuff.


  8. manicddaily says:

    There’s a snappy scrappiness that’s very true to life, thanks! K.


  9. tinkwelborn says:

    Victoria, great persona sonnet. speaking from the voice of the prostitute, it’s only business as usual. her body is her asset (for as long as that my last!); and she’s got liabilities: a son, she must raise.
    I love the line:
    Who, with rough touches, my self-worth will steal
    great rhythm, rhyme, and melody here…sounds pleasing to the ear (though the story hurts the mind)


  10. zongrik says:

    really good insight, lots of good imagery. my favorite

    Got calluses from these damn three-inch heels.
    I stink from filthy men I’m s’pposed to please


  11. Heaven says:

    an interesting point of view.. i like that she knows what she is in it for. i say, don’t judge anyone without hearing their point of view….thanks for sharing this ~


  12. wolfsrosebud says:

    makes you think twice before judging… nice


  13. tashtoo says:

    Wow! This is awesome, Victoria! I’m very glad you reposted…the love of a child will make us Mom’s do what we have to do…and it’s not always pretty.


  14. We all deserve the dignity of whole souls and our sacred point of view, let that empathetic light shine Victoria – love this!


  15. ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged,” eh? I can see and hear this person through your words.


  16. Mary says:

    Victoria, I am visiting from dVerse. This is so touching. I thought about writing from the point of view of someone similiar, but changed my mind. You pulled it off beautifully. And yes, there are apparently reasons for such a life. So sad though, and one can hope there will be other options. I love the lines “My body is not me. My spirit’s whole.” Yes, Yes, Yes!!


  17. brian miller says:

    damn. powerful capture and evocative of empathy for those that make decisions if for no other reason than to save another life, feed a child…and yes we judge them in our own worldview without ever considering…nice victoria


  18. […] My post for dVerse Poetics (Saturday, 10/22)–a wonderful prompt offered by Mark Kerstetter is located here: https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/sweet-painted-lady-a-sonnet/ […]


  19. Langley says:

    Tremendous sonnet. I can feel the whole thing. Bravo.


  20. trisha says:

    intention is the main thing.


  21. Victoria.. fantastic.. here is my song, Somebody’s me

    Someone is Special


  22. Mike Patrick says:

    Victoria, I’m trying to remember if I’ve read any of your sonnets before. This was great. Time to search the archives.


  23. Bodhirose says:

    Excellent message–so true. A good lesson in not placing judgment on others–we often don’t know the circumstances of others’ lives.


  24. pure2core says:

    oooooo! wow! superb write….


  25. brian says:

    damn, strong write victoria…convincing and convicting in how many people we make snap judgements on as we walk through our day…excellent piece…


  26. Pardon me, but, DAMN! You told that like you meant it. Very good piece!


  27. A.B. Thomas says:

    Gritty, vicious, simply stunning…


  28. Rekha says:

    Fabulous…feelings of someone never cared for or treated as human so well described.


  29. This was GREAT …. very sad, deep and raw. Sometimes, the streets the only way.

    I am not a fan of poetry. I can’t seem to master it. I guess I fell asleep in English class while it was being taught. We all can’t be poets …. BUT …. you are. I like reading yours.

    Very nice ….!!!!


  30. tasithoughts says:

    Wow! So powerful. Masterful! Moving to the core.




  31. Luke Prater says:

    Great sonnet, raw and touching. Iambic penta all the way.. I remember this one, did we work on it on the board? Piece to be proud of, V

    Luke x


  32. Sam says:

    This is a powerful poem, venturing within the depth of human nature and suffering… Well written Victoria…


  33. ALIVE aLwaYs says:

    That was a beautiful sonnet. I am shady on the whole sonnet thing, but I rarely go for meter, so no comments on that.
    I just saw the sentiment and it was wonderful. The couplet was incredible, it did summarize and elevate the whole sonnet, leaving readers like me to ponder over.


  34. Ina says:

    How I hope the fictive person will make a career move! Such a great poem about that dark side of life…


  35. This is fantastic I love the gritty realism


  36. Artswebshow says:

    Powerful poetry.
    It just goes to show how quick we are to judge


  37. Jade says:

    An excellent poem, one that digs into the truth that many turn a blind eye to…and your technique! This was a wonderful piece.


  38. mairmusic says:

    Strong message! And you use of the sonnet form is wonderful. Always enjoy reading another lover of poetic form.


  39. robin says:

    nobody has the right to judge…


  40. booguloo says:

    A parent sometimes is left no other choice.


  41. Becca Givens says:

    But in my deep-part, truth reminds me why:
    My body is not me, my spirit’s whole.

    Not matter the price of our choices and lessons — no matter what it looks like to someone else … we must know … this is the essence of our being and clarity of truth!

    Nicely done, Victoria!


  42. Incredibly powerful, wonderful!


  43. Laurie Kolp says:

    Powerful ending…


  44. I love that song and you did a great job evoking it!


  45. Jingle says:

    I can feel the emotion in your words.
    well done.

    talented piece.



  46. bendedspoon says:

    remarkable write! no judging on the plight of another being 🙂


  47. Tino says:

    A sad indictment of today’s society.

    Sometimes, we do what we have to do in order to survive.

    Sad, soulful piece.


  48. I love this piece. A form painting today’s reality, merging old and new, well that profession is quite old, what am I saying! 🙂 It is an awesome piece and from her angle, without any judgment whatsoever, just painting her reality, nicely done and thanks for the visit 🙂


  49. Lyn says:

    “My spirit’s whole”..absolutely..so well expressed. The sense of self is so strong!


  50. Sex workers are human beings too, with rights, with feelings. You captured that well here. Well done! Thumbs up 🙂


  51. seabell says:

    Great sonnet for a sad side of life! It is curious the free way you in general present sonnets. For us is 4-4-3-3 rigid stanzas and mainly a 1600 form, still a favourite of romantics. Known for opening with a silver key and closing with a golden one, just like you have done. Medieval poetry form? How interesting!


  52. vivinfrance says:

    Your sonnet is a powerful plea to the reader for compassion and understanding. As such, it moved me greatly.

    It was good to see you over at my blog. I was wondering where you’d got to!


  53. Loved this. You managed to capture the magic and the gritty reality.



  54. I like Elton John and all his songs, your poem was perfectly connected with the song! Painfully brilliant!


  55. marousia says:

    wow, brilliant sonnet – true artistry


  56. thingy says:

    Sad, sad. A very emotional write.


  57. luna15 says:

    had a friend who did that for that. this made me cry. you have a wonderful way with words.



  58. tskraghu says:

    tragedy of life:-(

    ok to reproduce it my blog with due credits? thanks anyways.


  59. mish says:

    I think that it’s perfect that you’ve chosen a medieval poetry form to describe an occupation that is as old as time itself !
    The tone is direct and honest ~ no excuses , no apologies … your character tells it like it is ! Well done !


  60. jgavinallan says:

    Raw, descriptive, frightening…artistic…




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