Love in the Days of Grunge
My brother and his first ex-wife staked their hearts
on Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" on a mixed cassette
with tabs removed, as if scotch tape or spit wads
could never re-cover the holes, make it so anyone
could call a do-over on the playlist they'd created.
My parents cling to a scratchy 45,
Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay." I will continue
pretending not to know why, to keep them
forever fifty-five watching Law and Order
in matching Barcaloungers and Snuggies.
But you and I, our options were bleaker.
Should we choose silence over Soundgarden,
quiet over King's Missile? Should we choose
the cluttered Xeroxed graphics of the latest zine
over hearts and flowers and sex?
Shall we curse the hopes of Glasnost and faltering
Perestroika, these deconstructed fables that stole
our birthright to a Red-Dawn-Rocky-IV montage
and deafened our ears so we could no longer
look each other in the eye, and in all seriousness,
love the beauty of rhyming June with moon?
The Possession of Wil Wheaton
I have a spiral bound
full of pictures of hot young men.
I am forty-two, this is disturbing.
Little boys with leather bracelets
and spikey mullets, crouched on skateboards.
The tape yellowing with age,
they have followed me from my teenage walls.
I will give them up when I’m ready.
I am not ready, though I know the world
doesn’t need another picture of Wil Wheaton
or Steve Burton, though I know they live forever
in internet gifs. But those are ripped
from someone else’s Teen Beat, hung on someone
else’s wall and these are mine…mine…mine.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Jennifer Schomburg Kanke currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida where she teaches writing and critical theory as a visiting professor at Florida State University. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, and Court Green. I serve as the reviews editor for Pleiades and am a reader for Emrys.