“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
The underground died in New Orleans on Halloween. 1991, The Blue Crystal, the only real goth/industrial dance club until you hit Houston, and even then. We streamed in in leather and eyeliner from a fishnet network that spiderwebbed across bayou and cane field. Teens from rural trailers. Closeted roustabouts home from the platforms. The DJ spun hypnotic, synth-y beats that said black-and-blue glamour, said urban in a way that conjured decaying capitals. Masked in our cartoony nihilism, we were temporarily protected from backwardness outside, like X-ing frat boys who regularly “fag bashed” anything arty that slunk across their path. We screamed lyrics with fake British accents and not a cig’s wisp of irony. Then Nirvana’s kitschy guitar riff ripped out. We stopped mid-spin and stared. A mainstream song they played on the radio. Our strobe-lit dungeon invaded by flannel. The dancefloor cleared. Junkies grabbed their rigs. A few preppy teens must have wandered in by accident, tried to make it work by working it out freestyle. Busted the Running Man on Siouxsie’s grave. Later, a skatepunk kicked one’s ass for the shit of it. Plant lights bled haloes into the chemical haze.
Wendy Barnes‘ poems have appeared in publications like No, Dear, Painted Bride Quarterly, Spiral Orb, Podium, Section 8, and Slice Magazine. Her chapbook, So-Called Mettle, was published in 2012. She is a graduate of the Cal Arts Writing Program and a doctoral candidate at Drew University. She lives in Brooklyn.
Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
See all Songs of the Week here.
Follow Song of the Week on Twitter: @nohelpforthat