“Bright Lights and Promises” by Janis Ian


“Honey, can you show me more?”

1989ish: my mother bought me Janis Ian’s Between the Lines (cassette)—and somehow this song reports to me: my orthodontist appointments (evening drives with my ma, through the ribbon-streets of Chicago’s Gold Coast); videos my brother and I made of our dog draped in pearls and propped on a rocking chair (in which my mother nursed us and upon which I, my own daughter: how awful how wonderful that all of time’s material makes its rut on us in us); my younger ideas of night clubs, Bette Midler (?), velvet purses, unflinching cynicism.

Now the song is clad in my professional reaction to two young women in my poetry class—they swill whiskey, hate everything, and write it all down in their tardy assignments; they shiver on smoke break outside of our university, waving around their phones and American Spirits, around, around, at nothing.

-Olivia Cronk

Photo on 2-5-15 at 7.32 PMOlivia Cronk‘s first book is Skin Horse (Action Books, 2012). Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Deluge, Dusie, Jubilat, Newfound,  Spolia, Swine, and Tender. Some of her work will be anthologized in Electric Gurlesque. She co-edits The Journal Petra with Philip Sorenson and is an instructor of Composition and Creative Writing at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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