dimestore, torch song, promise ring, slutspeak (news)

Imagine that night in Alphabet City when

we couldn’t find the bar we were looking

for. Everything was fire escapes, dirty

slush piles. A drugstore cowboy held up

a lamppost. The night was a dimestore

novel. We found another bar, with Edith

Piaf songs that spilled out onto the sidewalk,

went in for wine so sweet and too expensive.

And you in the window like a woman

in an Edward Hopper painting, surrounded

by people but alone unto yourself in the bar

light. In the dark that pressed in from

outside. -from "Dimestore Ghosts" (published at Uut Poetry)

I can’t find the beginning, so I begin with the music. I put the records on and I listen to the voices of these women, and as they sing they appear before me, flickering like footage from an old film. There is Billie Holiday, Lady Day singing the blues with flowers in her hair and veins full of opiates. With her golden reed of a voice, she sings her own pain – good morning, heartache – and the deeper pain of topics no one else will touch: Blood on the leaves and blood at the root. There is Nina Simone, with her barrelhouse presence, belting out the words to righteous anthems: All I want is equality – for my sister, my brother, my people and me. Then she turns her gaze inward, and sings the loneliest lost-love ballads – I drink much more than I oughta drink, because it brings me back you. When I listen to “Lilac Wine,” I hear that sad, damp, drunken night in her voice. It sounds like smoke and tears. -from "This Is a Torch Song" (published at Witchsong)

It’s funny - I used to worry that I wasn’t punk because I listened to stuff like this, stuff that was kinda too pretty and too poetic to be tough the way ‘real’ punk was supposed to be. When I listen to it now, it sounds more authentic than a hundred other punk bands I’ve heard in the ensuing seventeen-odd years. -from the piece I recorded for the Jughead's Basement Promise Ring/Nothing Feels Good episode

I mentally ran through a list of the boys I was currently seeing, or had recently slept with. I didn’t think any of them had girlfriends, except maybe one - but he lived in New York City, so I felt pretty sure that she wasn’t talking about him. “Your boyfriend?” “Well, my ex-boyfriend,” she said. “This was two years ago.” No wonder I hadn’t known which boy she meant. “Uh…” “You do remember him, right? Punkbro Doucheweasel?” (Note: not his actual name.) -from the piece I'll be reading at SlutSpeak 2015

#news #rustbeltjessie #poetry #indielit #music #slutspeak #jugheadsbasement #excerpt #jessielynnmcmains

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