Misti Rainwater-Lite's Dripping Milk (Erbacce Press)
Review by David McLean
This is not the first time I have read this little book but the first time I review it. Nothing is more boring in general than women celebrating the birth of children in poems, unless it's Sylvia Plath being disingenuous. But Misti, of course, shows no tendency to say “I never wash my goddess twat so it smells of my faith in wimmin.” As I say in the blurb on the book, which I have no memory of writing, the bitch bites. These poems are acerbic and cynical in that they give modern society, and particularly modern American society I suppose, unrelenting hell. But they never forget to do it with humor, grace, and style.
The poems use language in a fresh and entertaining way, but they are not an illiterate underground alternative to “real” poetry, as one might believe if one were to read wrong between the lines of what others and I myself have written about her. not just her, a lot of people who write punk poetry. This is the poetry that matters now. Seriously, people who study poetry in small American universities have to realize that the goddess of poetry (who was Anne Sexton once before the grave got to her) probably doesn't take their academic pretensions too seriously. What she does take seriously (she speaks to me sometimes when i drink, lots of dead people do) is bitches who bite, but bite with elegance and style.
Some of the highlights here are a series of five psalms that are much more sensible than the ones in the Christian Handbook -
“Humble yourself before the janitor. He isn't the
idiot you think he is”
Few of the poems in this collection actually directly treat of Jackson, but that is as it should be. The problem for pregnant trailer trash with a dead truck driver as husband is actually getting the thing out of you, alive and healthy-ish, and poems that address a being that is not yet strictly speaking in being are at best in faintly bad faith. It seems healthy to me. Really, the parents who fuck children up are the parents who make plans for them and try to live vicariously through them. Instead the poems are about the life situation that qualifies or disqualifies for being a big-bellied breeder. And I'm pretty sure that Jackson will grow up quite healthy.
Because these poems don't take any shit
“God is not offering any refills.
God is a bad waiter.
He won't get a tip, not from
this dissatisfied customer.
I would ask to speak to
the manager but I think
These are poems about living and loving “like you fucking mean it.” They are exceptional, and the chapbook is exceptionally well put together, the poems well ordered. I was as happy to get this is the post ass the cats are when I come in with shrimps after midnight. Best post we got this month, even though the Nightmare on Elm Street box set came with it.
David McLean is Welsh though he has lived in Sweden since 1987. He has a couple of chapbooks out, one a free download at Whyvandalism.com. The other, in print, can be ordered at Erbacce Press. He has a full length poetry collection available at Whistling Shade Press called Cadaver's dance. It can be ordered on alibris.com or on amazon.com. A second book of 128 pp is coming from Erbacce-press at the end of August, "pushing lemmings." There is a self-published book of 109 pages at Lulu called "eating your night" - Lulu. There are 600 poems now in, or forthcoming, in over 250 magazines online and/or in print. Details are at his blog at Mourning Abortion.