28 July 2008

misti rainwater-lites

channeling erin brockovich

"No, baby. Stay in the yes zone."
Jackson crawls into the no zone.
I'm sitting in the yes zone holding my cell phone up to my ear.
This ringing has lasted for approximately five minutes.
The same mousy bitch from last week drawls her nasal
greeting into my ear, finally.
I dispense with the basic courtesies and get down to business,
Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich style.
"My son's Medicaid expired on June 30th. I need to
reapply over the phone because I don't have a car."
I need a phone interview. I DON'T HAVE A CAR."
"Ma'am, I'd be happy to mail you an application."
"NO. I was told I could get a phone interview. My son
"Ma'am, how it usually works is we mail you an application
and a worker has thirty to forty days to process it."
I wish this bitch could smell my sweat right now.
I would love to put her in a headlock and shove
her nose up my right pit.
I'd like to tie her to a chair and make her watch
me hold my squirming baby boy while I try to
hold the mask up to his face so that he can breathe.
I'd love to entertain her in this crack whore shack.
I'd give her lukewarm Sam's Choice bottled water
stale Cheez-Its Party Mix and my a cappella rendition
of "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys."
I would give her a poetry reading
she wouldn't soon forget.
I'd give her something to think about
besides Jesus and Oprah and the latest
Olsen Twins gossip.
I think about all kinds of deep stuff.
I think about how fortunate I am
that I did not live in the lower 9th Ward
when Hurricane Katrina came to town.
I think about mothers holding babies
in filthy diapers on rooftops.
I think in terms of formula and not having it.
I remember when there was no formula
in the house several months ago,
how I put my son on my breast
even though I only breastfed him his
first week of life.
I think in terms of howls that cannot
be placated.
I think in terms of not having
and not getting
anytime soon.
How does a mother tell her baby
"You are just a number. Welcome to
the line."


The July heat in Albuquerque is dry.
The July heat in Las Vegas is veldt.
Daddy is on safari.
I've been on safari inside the MGM Grand.
This July heat throbs with a funky stench
and burns my nostrils with the wafting
of the primordial stew.
There are alligators and nutria in there.
My body is stuck in the crack whore shack
on Ford Street. Numb in places, tingling
in others.
My spirit is on a voodoo tour in New Orleans.
The Big Easy is hard on my longing.
My favorite photograph ever
even better than the photograph
I took of my vagina when I was numb
from Paxil and mourning the loss
of multiple orgasms
is the black and white photograph
of Fred and Cindy sitting together
at the Hurricane littered table
in Pat O'Brien's. Her face smeared
with drunken this love is as good as
it's ever gonna get resignation
his face Cherokee Irish stone tablet
engraved by God's burning finger
underneath black cowboy hat.
My favorite literary love scenes
hands down easy
are found in the pages of
Pachinko's SWAMP!
How can cockroaches
and crawdads and mosquitoes
be romantic?
I don't know how he did it.
Perhaps he was with the right woman
at the wrong time
in the wrong place
and because he was with the right woman
the other wrongs
were canceled out.
All I know for certain
is that I am here
stewing in my mire
but am flying there
haunting hearts
convinced they have found It
and It will never die
and leave them buried
in memories
and phone bills.
I'm black cat bad luck.
I'm Santeria.
I'm wicked candles dripping wax
all over the best intentions.
Bloated but not
with any amount
of regret.

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