by Alana Noel Voth
Your son sings to Linkin Park. Green Day. Wheezer.
On the wall above your desk is a poster of Kurt Cobain. The rest of
the walls in your two-bedroom apartment are decorated with photographs
of your son and his artwork: A self-portrait, and an interpretation of
Monet. You don't have any pictures of your son's father.
Working full-time hours and trying to finish a book you're writing:
Doing so-so. What's important? Keeping up with your kid: Read to him;
help him with homework; tell him you love him everyday.
It's the girls in the audience you like to watch, their faces on TV,
how they smile, and how their eyes glow. You see a willowy arm in the
air, a silver bracelet. Swinging. Reaching. You'd like to tell
her...what would you tell her?
You can't articulate why you're obsessed with a TV show, Rock
Star: INXS, or that one guy in particular, JD Fortune.
Your son plays a guessing game. "Does that guy look like my dad?
Does that one?"
You're in bed with a body pillow. The TV is on to keep you
company. The screen starts flashing. Here's what you see: A person
like a tottering reed, a snake-panther-strange bird, a gypsy twisting
in a storm of spotlights, a live wire in dark clothes. A great
metaphor. JD Fortune is a contestant on a show called Rock Star:
INXS. He has a conniption fit on stage. Conniption: A fit of
violent emotion (American Heritage Dictionary.)
It's like a trip down Memory Lane.
Dark hair. Canadian. Slim. You like JD's rock star stance the best,
the way he stands with legs apart and his thumb hooked in the
waistband of his jeans. He inspires a girlish impulse to giggle, a
woman's impulse to have, a groupie's urge to submit, worship. JD has
tattoos on his arms, stubble on his chin, crooked teeth. When he
raises his arms, you get a glimpse of skin, a hint of navel, which
reminds you of the trail of hair men have growing from their
bellybuttons to their pubes. You used to follow that trail with a
finger. You like the way JD sings "As Tears Go By," and "Cold As Ice."
Start writing your book, which you think will be a collection of
fictionalized autobiographical essays in second person.
Finish your degree and get a job, but not the one you want -- a
tenure-track position teaching creative writing: About $65,000 a
year if you were lucky; but not until you publish a book.
Your son is born. Record this day in history. Write his name, Mica
Landon Roberts, in the stars. Now look in your son's eyes for the
first time. Fall in love. Really, really in love.
Track Hayden down the last time. Tell him over the phone and then
listen to him say it's not his kid. Hear him hang up and then say,
"Fuck you very much." Although it could have come out, "Love
you very much."
(continue backwards in time)
Slip headphones around your stomach and play songs by Collective
Soul. Think, whatever magic Hayden has, it's inside me now. Wonder if
this is how your love is returned.
Look for Hayden. Hear from a friend of a friend of a friend that
Hayden is in LA -- managing a car wash. Don't believe it.
Buy a pregnancy test and know the results.
Your eyes water: Falling stars. Hayden grabs you, and his kiss feels
passionate because you'll never see each other again. Admire his
smirk. Feel him hold you by the arms until it hurts.
Hayden says his reason for playing isn't there anymore. Rock n' roll
is depressed. You feel the same way, depressed. A reason to go on
living, you know it's there; it will float to the surface like a
bubble of air.
Hear Kaye got loaded on smack and fell through a window. A shard of
glass impaled her throat, and she died. Remember the blood you
shared; she's still in you.
Courtney Love says women should empower themselves.
Kurt Cobain shoots himself in the head.
Hayden's band isn't doing well. And all the money you made as a model --
spent. Floating in a Milky Way between waking and sleeping you wonder,
when did it start? You're not good enough for anyone or anything. You
behave like you can't love him. You push Hayden against walls -- take
control at least in this moment, this transaction between bodies, this
safety net of sweat and spit. Straddle his waist. Fit him inside
you. He fits you to the hilt. Come.
Do you talk? Carefully. Otherwise, issues. Otherwise,
wounds. Sometimes you read to Hayden. Sometimes it's something you
wrote. You kiss his palm between paragraphs. He wets his lips with his
When you fuck Hayden the first time, you're nervous. Like a girl. Then
not. Like a siren. You sit on his lap. He's seated on a chair.
Bare-chested. Pants opened. Trail of hair visible. Follow it with a
finger. Feel the heat rising off his cock. Play with the rings through
his nipples. Use your teeth. Smile when he gasps. Feel how your hair
falls down your back. Feel his fingers digging into your waist. Feel
his mouth on your neck. Hear him say, "I want to fuck you. I'm going
to fuck you hard. Got it? Yeah?" Feel the moisture inside you
give. Feel your clit thicken with blood.
Lose track of your best friend, Kaye. Maybe she's in London.
Hayden is six feet tall with dark hair and light eyes. Girls love
him. For some reason, he beckons you. You go, curious -- anxious. He
curls a finger around your ear and then tucks your hair back. He
stares into your eyes. Intense. Focused. On you. You say, "Your songs
are like vicious poetry." He smiles, a curl in the left corner of his
mouth. Now you're nervous. Say, "I'm a model." He says,
Seeing Hayden on stage the first time makes you breathless. He slings
his guitar in front of his hips and then sings, melodic screaming into
the microphone, before he falls to the stage on his knees, his back
arched, hand whacking his guitar. He has pierced nipples. Sweat on his
forehead rolls into his eyes. Hair messy. A fit of passion. Lyrics so
Kurt Cobain is on the cover of Rolling Stone. Kaye says she's
never seen a more pathetic looking man. You think he looks sad. Like a
boy or a puppy. Go to Contempo Casuals. Discover flannel has replaced
spandex. Notice how angry music is.
This one stares at your tits. Jerking off. He says, "I want to come
on you." A string of semen sticks to your collarbone before sliding
like a limp noodle between your breasts.
Guy in Famous Band calls you Lois Lane. Feel insulted. How about
Pamela Anderson? He says, "Lois Lane." Superman rescued Lois Lane.
Try college. Find you still do better at modeling.
Arrive in a limo. Fifth row on the aisle. Spandex skirt. Lipstick on
your teeth. Kaye shows the singer her tits. Huge party backstage. You
sit in a drummer's lap eating cherries, then spitting the pits in his
hand. Feel his erection like kindling for a fire under your ass. Your
clit is a tiny beacon of light. Hey Handsome.
You see your friend Marla climb into a car with Bret Michaels.
Bret Michaels sings "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" while he grips your
hand and you sob like a dork. He smiles. Lets go of your hand.
At Red Rocks Amphitheater the line is a mile long. You, Kaye, and
Marla will never get a good seat. You want to meet Bret
Michaels. Marla says, "I know where there's another gate. If I show
the guard my tits, he'll let us through it." You look at her. "You'd
do that for me?" She looks at you. "Sure."
As a model, you do lots of lingerie catalogs and posters for beer.
There's a thing called Meet and Greet. People with a pass get
autographs. When the girls can't get to the band anymore, they see
you; their eyes shine. "You're with the band?" Actually, Kaye
knows the band. You know her.
You have a modeling agent now.
No more postcards from Phil. Anyway, you didn't love him.
Phil plays guitar. You keep the postcards he sends you, including the
one that says, "You're special. You didn't fuck me. We talked."
In Kort's apartment, on a bed with tossed sheets and big pillows,
you're scared. You're intimidated. You lie there shaking and waiting
for him to bestow his magic on your body and soul. Kort rolls you on
your back, spreads your thighs with his hand, and then fucks you -- no
Kort puts Whitesnake on the tape deck and rolls down the car
windows. Wind blows through your hair. He sings "Here I Go
Again." No idea where you're headed next or what he'll do with
you. He says, "Why you here, doll?" You clasp your hands in your
lap. "What do you mean?" Kort takes a corner at top speed. Butterflies
in your stomach. He explains: "Shy girl alone with me. Aren't you
Kort Black singles you out while he's performing on stage in a
nightclub. He says, "This one's for you," and then sings a cover
of "Heaven Isn't Too Far Away."
You and Kaye drink Seagram's Seven. You pass the bottle. Drink
deep. And then jab yourselves in the hand and watch the tiniest
flowers of blood open between your life and love lines. Blood
sisters. You sit knee-to-knee in your studio apartment. You haven't
got a TV, a car, or a phone. You have one box of clothes, three dozen
cassette tapes, and a stereo.
Kaye shows you how to dress: Skirt, fishnet stockings, and
stilettos. You have contests to see which of you can tease your hair
the highest. One night at a party, a guy you've never seen before
arrives with a guitar. He sings a song by Styx, and you flip.
You meet Kaye, who looks like Tawny Kitaen.
Danny breaks your heart. Anyway, he never started his band.
Remove your jeans; lie back on the carpet; open your legs; wrap your
arms around Danny's neck; push your lips to his forehead and then try
not to scream when it hurts.
The Colorado sky is bone-cold blue; slivers of ice make the road
shiny. Danny's parents are gone for the weekend. Plumes of breath ring
your head as you step from the car and lock it. Walk to the front
door. Inside, sit on the floor. Danny says, "Soon as I finish
school I'm starting a band." Then he says, "You should be a
model. Rock stars like models."
Sex dream. Water. Bret Michaels, lead singer for Poison, stands
waist-deep in the surf, and you have your legs around him. You don't
fuck. You bob naked in water. Kiss his fingers. Come in your sleep.
Write this in your notebook during History: "Super Nova moment when
a rock star takes the stage. I want to end up with a rock star. You
know, both of us old and gray."
Your new stepmother drives you to school in a Camaro and plays bands
you've never heard before, Poison and Mötley Crüe. You plug your
ears. Stare at the road.
Your dad's hair hangs to his shoulders; he smokes cigarettes and rides
a motorcycle. On a wall in the garage is a poster of Christie
Brinkley. Your dad has girlfriends, curvaceous blondes. You hear him
with one in the bedroom once. Your dad plays records: Journey, Cheap
Trick, and Styx. You watch him from where you sit on the floor as he
waters the plants that grow in pots all over the living room. A guy
from Styx sings, "Babe, I'm leaving, must be on my way." You
compete with your dad's girlfriends for attention.