“We Are All Hopper Paintings Now”
The Guardian, UK (27 March 2020)
by Alexis Rhone Fancher
That’s me, solo table at The Automat, staring into a cold cup of tea; me, just out of frame, driving up to the lonely pump jockey in Gas. My sister says I have a “bad picker,” that my type (well-hung and irresponsible) is very very bad for me, and she’s right. I wouldn’t know a good guy if he snatched me up off the street in broad daylight, I tell her. My point, exactly, my sister chides.
I decide not to tell her about the stranger I’m chatting with online. He wants to send me on a train trip, meet him in Detroit, all expenses paid, and I admit, the thought makes me wet. That’s me, the woman reading in Compartment C Car, hurtling cross county toward a brand new life. I text him that I love Detroit, that I’m a fool for muscle cars. He says he’s a poet and an artist and a Buddhist. That he hasn’t owned a car in years.
I confess, romance never ends well for me. Sometimes the loneliness screams so loud I want to drown myself in a tawdry romance novel with a sappy ending, or a bottomless glass of rye. Sometimes I want to hitch a ride with a comely vagabond, a poet from Michigan, drive off into the sunset. I lived 15 years with a Lakota Sioux medicine man on Pine Ridge Indian reservation in SD, he texts. Lived on a deserted tropical island off the coast of Thailand, in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, traveled Europe, lived amongst Bedouin Arabs in the Negev desert. I text back a smiley face and wait. I want to hitchhike to Tierra del Fuego, he responds. Wanna go?
If only he knew! I’m the woman staring out the bay window in Cape Cod Morning, desperate for my latest true love to reappear. He said he was going to the store for bread, gas up the Chevy. Be right back, he said. The cloudy sky mirrors my mood. I wait. And wait.
You should know better, my sister says. There are no rescuers anymore. I know that. I’m the usherette leaning against the wall in New York Movie. I’ve seen that film a dozen times; I’m lost in reverie. Dressed in a thoughtful blue uniform, rebellion looks like the strappy-assed shoes, half-hidden on my feet.
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"We Are All Hopper Paintings Now" was first published in NYQ Magazine, Spring issue 2021.
Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Hobart, Verse Daily, Plume, Cleaver, Diode, Duende, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry East, Pedestal Magazine and elsewhere. She’s authored five poetry collections, most recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), and EROTIC: New & Selected (New York Quarterly Books, 2021). Another, full-length collection (in Italian) by Edizioni Ensemble, Italia, was published in 2021. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Daily. www.alexisrhonefancher.com