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Dear River

Dear River Phoenix,

I remain your biggest fan in Texas. When I was seventeen, I hung a poster of you on my bedroom door in Fredericksburg, where various football players called me “skank” and said they would rather fuck a dog than fuck me. I was a virgin until I was 22. This is uncommon, especially in 20th-century Texas. I am now living in 21st-century Texas, and things are much the same—only more so. I enjoyed you in Stand By Me and The Mosquito Coast. When I think of you, I think of you as a boy saying, “Not if I see you first.” Your delivery slayed me. You were so young but so old, so pure in your intensity. I would have eaten vegetables with you and watched your fingers fumble across the guitar strings. You remain my favorite Virgo male. I have a Virgo moon and ascendant. Also. My sun and Venus are conjunct in the house of Virgo, so my Virgo influence is considerable. As the calendar years accumulate, a woman becomes more like her sun and less like her moon, so these days, I am less the tongue-tied virgin (I still have my awkward moments, and I still hear every word a lover doesn’t say.) and more the ranting and raving lunatic water bearer with one foot in the Rio Grande and the other foot on Jupiter. I’ve got God all over my toes, and I am dying in the throes of the most passionate love of my life at the redolent age of forty. I still haven’t seen My Own Private Idaho, but I will. I know this is an important item to cross off the list. This morning, I watched the sunrise in Eagle Pass, Texas. I told my boyfriend I prefer fat, lazy tongue, and he said he will let the bees sting his tongue. Bees follow him everywhere he goes. He’s a Capricorn, so he is always teaching me stuff. He has a Taurus moon, so as you can imagine he is one tactile, stubborn, stuck-in-his-ways motherfucker. Also. His Mars in Sagittarius adores my Venus in Aquarius. He grills red meat for me. I love red meat, but I might have given it up for you. Would you have given up the drugs for me? I wouldn’t have asked you to. I’m writing this from a starry, misty distance. Reality can be so stark, quite the wake-up call, so much cold water splashing on your dreaming face. You never know if it will work with someone until you are sharing a cheap motel room, braving your way in the dark past the tiptoeing-on-eggshells phase. There are so many ways to give and receive love and so many variations and so many thrilling combinations, and I am still a sexual apprentice. I am not immune to infatuation, but I’ve put away the camera and the candy cane, because I’m in it now, the rapturous sea, where I am mermaid, and he is blue whale, and we are singing past the stinging phase. Really, I don’t know what else there is. Well, breakfast, sure ... forks, dirty dishes, the budget, credit cards, road trips to San Antonio, angry relatives, long lines at the post office, and death at the end, smirking. Now, I’m thinking of Johnny Cash ... your brother as Johnny Cash. He did a great job. Reese was cute, but I don’t think she earned that Oscar. I am still practicing my acceptance speech. Someday I will star in a movie of my life, because I don’t think Kristen Stewart could quite pull it off. My boyfriend is always saying he’ll see various women in Heaven. His ex-wife, The One That Got Away ... and me. If Heaven isn’t a dive bar with blue Xmas lights and a jukebox fat with Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Daniel Johnston, Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, Led Zeppelin, King Tuff, White Fang, Destroyer, The Church, and Elvis (one of the greatest Capricorns ever), I’d prefer to stay dead, thanks. But if the eternal dive bar does in fact exist, I will see you there, and the first hundred rounds are on me, sweet man. My McDonald’s coffee is getting cold, and now, it is time to dodge traffic and make my way to the nail salon. Pretty nails are still somehow important.


Misti Rainwater-Lites is our Experimental Works Reviewer for The Volt, specializing in reviewing non-linear poetry, hybrid prose, zines, and handmade experimental creations. Misti 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.

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