Thursday, March 7, 2019

luke perry

Image result for luke perry 90210

when I was eleven I hammered Luke Perry to my wall
 and drew his name with hearts on my social studies textbook.
I shared a bus with boys who shot spitballs in my hair
and asked, “Why are you so pale?” as if I had an answer.
I watched the pretty girls take quizzes in Seventeen magazine
to find out if they were a Brenda or a Kelly.
I never took the quiz because I already knew I was an Andrea,
a friendless wallflower who kept her light dim
so other girls could shine brighter.

when I was twelve I replaced Luke Perry with a Young Guns poster.
the following July I woke up in bloody sheets and
Emilio Estevez pointing a gun at my kitten.
I rode the bus with boys who yanked at my hair
and said, “you would be pretty if you weren’t so pale”
(as if I had a choice in the matter).
I watched other girls closely and wondered which ones had also woken up
to the sight of blood and the shock of a new beginning.

When I was fourteen I replaced the Young Guns
with a poster of elephants.
I scrawled “Save the Rainforest” in my English notebook and
shared a bus with boys who said I was weird.
when I asked why, they said “you just are.”
I met girls who said “that’s ok, we’re weird too”
And we went about saving the planet together.

When I was seventeen I replaced the elephants with Eddie Vedder.
I wrote Nirvana lyrics in my journal
and burned incense in my room
to disguise the smell of cigarettes.
I shared a bus with a boy who shot himself
while his parents were at Easter service.
It rained at his funeral, and my friends and I began to dance,
because we were too healthy and young
to already know death,
and maybe the world would seem less dark
if we shined all our lights together.

when I was forty I read that Luke Perry was dead
and for hours I felt nothing.
Then I remembered being eleven and
defacing the map of the world with the name
of a star I had never met,
and how less rocky the landscape of adolescence had felt
with his star beside my bed,
watching over,
one light whispering to another,
“shine on.”
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