Shalom

BY MISTI RAINWATER-LITES
[This poem contains explicit language.]


I go to my favorite karaoke bar on a whim. Tuesday night.
I’m nothing special.
42. Frizzy hair.
I am so ordinary
sitting alone
drinking Shiner Bock.
Four different men hit on me.
One tells me I remind him of Grace Slick.
That’s supposed to be a compliment.
Another one smiles at me and mouths words to me
from across the bar.
I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.
Another one reminds me of Andy Warhol,
so no danger there.
He buys me a beer, asks for my number.
He wants to meet me the next night
and hear me sing.

Why?

He’s from out of town.
He’s bored.
How could he or any other man
possibly want me?
Oh, I’m bored with it all.
I reject the whole thing.
I walk to my car
and a man tells me
he was intimidated by
my beauty but he has to tell me
before I leave
how beautiful
I am.
Okay. Sure. Thanks.
He tries to kiss me.
I get in my car and drive off
into the stupid sexy San Antonio night.
Wednesday night. I return in my black and blue cholo shirt.
I’m not trying to seduce Andy Warhol.
As it turns out Andy wants at least a kiss.
I reject him because I am a bitch who knows every inch and crevice
of what she wants.
I’m getting more selective in my old age.
No one is in any amount of danger.
I drive across town to my ex-husband’s new house.
I camp out there for a week
feeding my son’s fish
watching reality television
returning to Facebook
loathing every inch of myself.
Oh, the controversies.
This person reported for that photo.
That person in love with that poet.
New book of poems that five people on the planet might read.
Everything is shiny.
Too shiny for my eyeballs to comprehend.
I decide to stay alive.
I deactivate my account for the zillionth time.
I toast myself with almond milk.
Saturday night.
My friend sends me a text message.
Shooting at the karaoke bar.
I Google. Only one man died
and he was the idiot
that showed up with
a gun.
If you cannot recognize that karaoke is holy
you are better off dead.
In women’s studies I watch a documentary.
The impoverished of Haiti are more relevant
than any American writer I know.
The professor hands me back my midterm exam.
100.
I still can’t explain shit to my seven-year-old son.
I still can’t check the oil or change a tire.
I still can’t walk inside Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart
without wanting to build my own submarine
and finally disappear.
I watch the assigned video.
I’m studying the Bible again.
I show up.
I’m accountable to five or six strange Bible-reading women.
The video makes me blink back tears.
Everyone in this library is so loud.
What does anyone want from me?
I’m fractured.
I’m wounded.
I’m really fucking hot.
I talk to my boyfriend and he doesn’t talk back
so I call him a book a god a ghost
my latest urgent scrawl.
Last night I carried boxes of notebooks and poetry books
to the dumpster.
I wrote one of the notebooks when I was sixteen.
I don’t miss anyone or anything.
I check Bukowski’s natal chart.
Yep.
We would have been compatible
at least for an afternoon or two.
Fuck Sylvia Plath.
Fuck Anne Sexton.
Not that I
can blame them.


MISTI RAINWATER-LITES is the author of many works of fiction and poetry, including Amethyst Miraculous, Blank Cake, Nova’s Gone Potty, Connubial Blistered, Expired Nickel Valentine Poetry, Sloppy Mouth, and her most recent, Bullshit Rodeo. She maintains a blog called Chupacabra Disco and is currently working on a non-linear novel, entitled Fuckerbutt Happy Time.

Poem originally published on 4/11/15