Shopping with Whitney Houston

Get the Flash Player to see this player.
video: Shopping with Whitney Houston
video of Autumn Newman's poem, Shopping with Whitney Houston

Re-Size Text: A A A A Comment

RSS blog print

Autumn Newman

Shopping with Whitney Houston


      Thrift store shopping is better than crack. I warm
      up with a casual inspection of
      the “Home Goods,” picking up the tiny worn
      Chinese vase somebody used to love.
      When I hit “Ladies Shirts,” endorphins peak.
      Cacophony of sliding hangers, metal
      hooks on metal bars, and then the meek
      tick of plastic against plastic. I settle
      into my high. Until I hear, lapping at
      the brackish, foamy, glass-flecked shores of my head,
      a song. My hum is automatic and flat:
      with somebody who loves me and then, like lead
      in a pillowcase upside my head, I see
      the headlines, never the ones I thought I’d see.

      Then other headlines, smaller ones, about me.
      I see his wide blue eyes and hear his voice,
      atonal, almost whispered, you’re gonna fuck me,
      again. His fist waits, as if I have a choice,
      then softens to a strangle around my neck.
      Thirteen years I tried to drink away
      those vapid hands, but all I got was sick.
      So I understood her willowy display
      on People magazine, but most people ask
      such stupid questions about drugs and fame
      and love. They mistook the woman for the mask,
      Incapable of reading past her name.
      A screeching hanger snaps the moment back,
      to the basement smell, the vase with its tiny crack.