Real Housewives

Gossip is the last great oral tradition.

The best gossip begins like kindling
     ignited and fanned to flame.
          Rising out of the ashes
of a divorce, her life in foreclosure,
     the housewife must reauthor herself:
          she unzips the old skin and begins anew
under the knife of a celebrity surgeon
     reputed to be shrewd. Voila! She resurfaces
          post-surgery with lips ballooned.
At a dinner party from hell, one wife
     sidelines another wife: Why were you alone
          with my husband?
The night
is suddenly electric. Tragedy
     is two women trapped within
          the eternal return of the same
cocktail dress. The wives weave
     felicitous texts upon a theme
          of vaginaplasty
after the pageantry of the baby
     bump, pregnant in heels.
          Now there’s talk
of the It Girl
     whose boob job on live TV
          went woefully awry. OMG,
the tête-à-tête of misaligned titties,
     adventures in surgery
          left her with a pair of unsynchronized swimmers.
The glitterati say the only thing worse
     than being blogged about
          is not being blogged about.
The wives fawn over the tawdry tweeted
     snark, pleased to read
          of the airing out of a mistress’ dirty
string-thong bikini. Ladies! We’ve enough
     white wine to go around
. Between the sweet tinkling
          of tall-stemmed, sugar-rimmed glasses
and a chorus of chitchatting ex-wives,
     a villainista eagle eyes
          her rival across a dinner table, deliciously
plotting, she tears into a bleeding tenderloin
     with her bright teeth, encircles the Other Woman
          in her sniper’s crosshairs
and with furor loquendi
     she Pearl Harbors her enemy:
          You need to close your legs to married men.
A terrorista hurls a Molotov cocktail
     in the shape of a pink martini
          as emery boarded claws surface to air
with vengeance. There is girl-on-girl
     action, there’s a woman threatening to release
          a night-vision sex tape to the paparazzi.
And now a close-up money shot
     of a blonde: high-volume teased hair, hotpink
          lipsticked lips agape upon
viewing the redhot, six-inch long
     stiletto her rival unhooves
          wielding it as a weapon.
Brava! Climax. Shoegasm. Finish her! shouts
     one who obviously never heard of finishing school.
          All the weeklies will moralize
how it’s all fun and games
     until someone’s husband hangs
          himself. At home
the injured wife ices her wound with a bloody
     mary to the rescue. She fronts the mirror,
          touches up her blush, embalms her lips
to match the living
     room walls, gunmetal
          gray. Each day
adds a new pearl
     to the necklace
          of betrayals.
She stares into her mirrored face—a farce
     of a cry pantomimed, a comedy
          more Chaplinesque than burlesque—
she speaks into the mirror, which speaks
     into the camera, and in turn to our TV:
           I’m not here to make friends.

Originally published in Fugue