How perfect they are without your help,
these limited editions. How even in winter
they seem to shine when you see them,
marching ahead of you, dead set on something.
Their breasts toss things to porters, who bow.
Their knees touch as they get down into cars.
They look so interesting in their savage furs
you can’t imagine their parents or their homes
or whether their beds have turn-downs.
Do they sleep, these dreams? It seems impossible
that they go willingly into darkened rooms with men,
there to make love with nothing on,
when they could be walking about in the open.
But perhaps they don’t. Perhaps they are really
perched at the mirrored counter where you first saw them,
their jackets only half unbuttoned.
Here comes one now. Can you stop from reading on?
Her heels are bound in such sweet leather.
Her hair has been cut by God, regardless of the fashion.
She knows you are following her,
for she twists you this way and that in the sun,
catching a glimpse of herself in a new hat
as she turns down Regent Street.
Did she go into Dickins and Jones?
You followed her, but she had left by the other door.
You ran out, but already she was getting into a car
when the man with the little boy came up
and asked you the way to Carnaby Street.
The would-be bride is here,
blindfold against the setting sun.
Her heart-shaped bag
has been eaten by her fiancé, the alsatian.
She is armed and smiling
as she stumbles among us with a curse.
Lighting a Greek candle, she curtsies wrongly
and ascends a ladder
let down by one of her assailants.
‘Everyone wants to be me!’ She cries,
as she dives out of the window
into a barrel of laughs.
If you are a fashion editor or a photographer or work
in Public Relations or advertising one of the inescapable
facts of everyday life is the constant snail’s trail
of models on ‘go-sees’ that passes through your office.
A ‘go-see’ is exactly how it sounds. It can be exciting.
Girls can pick up a lot of work by being in the right place
at the right time. They can become a face overnight.
On the other hand it can be a complete waste of their time.
Sometimes when models come to see me on go-sees I realise
I must have seen them at least half a dozen times before.
On other occasions it may be a totally new, untried
fresh face that comes hesitantly through my door. Alas,
Noelle is one of the hardy perennials who has been going
on go-sees for years with very little to show for it.
When I was going through her book I asked how old she was.
She said, ‘You asked me that when I came to see you last year
and when I said 24, you said “The clock’s ticking on, girl.” ’