Cult Status were fluid, is how they would put it. Almost like rivulets. They went this way. They went that. They flowed, they wanted to say. They were a gush. They were a surge, to be honest, or a tide, especially first thing in the morning when they were first awake at the fridge and they saw the blub light up the hand almost like a moon before it reached the juice. That tiny instant before they grabbed the beverage and poured it and drank it was for them almost a flood, really, of the them-ness and the they-ness that they carried so perfectly inside themselves like a flowering plant in their brains or loins or whatever until unfortunately for them they were forced to grasp that they were actually also a mishap if not a disaster, since the mother was the mother and the father, the father. And the banks, they were the banks. And the luck? It was the luck. Then the imperialism of the rest of the day would start loping after them like a migraine. What would a coma be like, they would want to ask someone. But nobody would be there.
Social Status was Nobody’s sister. Like Hansel and Gretel, they shared a poor father, a woodsy fireman. Their mother was dead and gone—infirmity, frailty, catastrophe, catastrophe. Social Status was a girl and Nobody was a boy. They lived in a little shanty in the mountains by a creek poisoned by Dow Chemical and fought incessantly on account of having such limited parental input.
Nobody once took Social Status’s eyeliner and put it in the back of his truck to trick his girlfriend into thinking he was cheating on her. This was when Nobody was fifteen. He’d worked for two years selling skinned rabbits to buy his Ford. Social Status feared Nobody had taken her panties too and her best silk bra and several tampon applicators, but Social Status had no proof.
Nobody’s main goal in life was to make a PDF pie chart of their father’s frustration and to have a well-attended unveiling in the little village theatre downtown. Social Status’s goal in life was to leave Nobody far behind, but she kept a little notebook of everything Nobody put in his notebook anyway and knows therefore the extent to which she herself is no angel but, rather, a typhoon of want like a whole dug up Texas of it.
And that’s what this is unfortunately vis-à-vis and a propos.
This is unfortunately vis-à-vis and a propos Social Status’s need to be more among the few and more among the many.
This is not at all about Nobody.
Think of Social Status and then of Manhattan plus a London plus an Egypt.
Think industrial parks. Think the Atlantic, think the Pacific. Think under the Indian Ocean with that plane from Malaysia and all the volcanoes in Hawaii and anywhere else volcanoes go batty. Please think about all that lava inside the heart of poor Social Status in her wretched shanty.
Adrian Blevins is author of three full-length books of poetry, most recently Appalachians Run Amok, winner of Two Sylvia Press’s Wilder Prize. Her other books are Live from the Homesick Jamboree and The Brass Girl Brouhaha, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She has also written the chapbooks Bloodline and The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes and co-edited a collection of essays, Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. Her other awards are a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award and awards from Ploughshares, Zone 3, The Chattahoochee Review, among others. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.