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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Four Iggy Pops

The fourth time I saw Iggy Pop was at the Ritz. I flew up to New York City with my boyfriend Tom, an artist who painted large abstracts and always smelled a bit of turpentine and linseed oil. Two of our other friends were with us, Mimi, a make up artist and dancer, and Dicky, a chubby heroin addict who was clean at the moment. The plan was to stay with one of Tom’s rich ex-girlfriends who attended FIT and whose parents had a nice place in Brooklyn Heights.
My only reference for Brooklyn Heights came from the knowledge that Walt Whitman began Leaves of Grass there and worked for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. As a burgeoning poet, this was enough to make me feel I could go there and write and write. Not only would I see Iggy, I’d be able to walk the same streets as that other anarchist poet, Walt. And I wasn’t at all concerned about staying with my boyfriend’s ex. At nineteen, I wasn’t the jealous type, I was more of the “we can stay for free who gives a fuck who lives there” type.
Tom, Mimi and Dicky were all twenty-six, and we lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tom and I had dated for a year and though he was a consummate flirt, he had yet to cheat on me. He was everything I thought an artist should be, he was the Henry Miller to my June, the Sartre to my de Beauvoir. He maitre’d at a posh restaurant and then stayed up all night painting. He’d come in the bedroom while I slept, rip the blankets off me and in the morning there’d often be a picture of me leaning against his dresser, large and thick and wet.
Tom’s ex, Michelle, came and picked us up at the Port Authority. Her intentions were obvious from the start. He tried to stealthily flirt back once we got to her place. I figured I’d let him have his game and Mimi and I split and went shopping at Fiorucci’s and Trash and Vaudeville. Seeing Iggy Pop mattered to me—I had to have the perfect outfit if I was going to meet Iggy.
When we returned to Michelle’s place, Mimi and I locked ourselves in the bathroom and began our transformation. I bought a white mini skirt with black polka dots and a matching top—both made of paper. At Trash and Vaudeville I purchased a pair of red leather roach killers with six shiny silver buckles wrapped around my ankles. Mimi did my make-up and I have to admit to feeling pretty foxy. Mimi wore a gold lame wedding dress and spiked her hair. She looked frightening and beautiful. Tom knocked on the door and fed us margaritas.
When we emerged Tom was sitting on the couch with Michelle and her friend. They were both wearing variations of Kelly green and pink Izod shirts and pants, with Etienne Aigner loafers and matching bags.
Mimi and I detoured into the kitchen. “Did you see that fucking alligator?” I said to Mimi and we laughed until we almost peed ourselves. Tom had wrapped himself in Hefty bags and duct tape over an Elvis Costello suit and then spray painted the whole ensemble. He decided to be the grafitti one sees when flying past a building on a subway. Dicky sat on a love seat looking forlorn and hawkish. The wish on his face plain to me: that Michele or her preppy friend would throw him a bone, but girls like that never went for Dicky. I went and sat on his lap and he tried to bite me on the breast.
“Fuck off Dicky” I said as I pushed him away. “Let’s get out of here.”
We left and took the D train into Manhattan and soon arrived at the Ritz. Mimi and I left Tom, Dicky and the two preppies downstairs before anyone could identify us as knowing them and proceeded to find the backstage area. A strung out blonde approached us and asked if we had a pin, she said Iggy needed one to hold his vest together.
I handed over my Gang of Four button and said, “here, but you’ve got to let us come backstage.”
And like that we were back there. Mimi sat down on a table and said she was spinning. I walked around and saw Iggy emerge onstage and soon all I could see was his thighs in a garter belt gyrating and falling down and popping back up as if on a string and the crowd moved like a great beast come round and round and I danced with him for two hours until my outfit disintegrated like a paper towel around my black garter, red bra. He sang, “I Wanna be Your Dog” and I did. After the show, I remembered Mimi. I found her stretched out on a banquet table in a state of seeming catatonia. I left her there and went back out for the encore.
He was so beautiful out there dancing, all sinew and insanity. I could see why that waitress at CBGB’s did him onstage: watching him was like sex. He came offstage and walked right past me, his eyes unfocused, sweat dripping from every orifice of his body.
I never met Iggy, though we were invited to party with him afterwards. I got Mimi up from the table were she’d stayed the entire show, looking like the bride of Frankenstein on Quaaludes. She sobered up, but couldn’t forgive herself for missing Iggy’s show.
We found Tom outside standing next to Michelle and her friend. He was pissed we’d ditched him for the whole show, but I didn’t care because I’d sacrificed going to party with Iggy to find him and then when I did he had his arm around his ex.
“Where’s Dicky?”
“I think he’s on the shit. He met a girl and last time I saw him he said he’d see me in the morning,” said Tom.

“Let’s get outta here,” I said.
When we got back to Michelle’s we started mixing up margaritas again. I carried my margarita into the bathroom and took a hot bath and read passages from Leaves of Grass and then passed out. 
Tom came to bed soon thereafter, and tried to fuck me, but I wouldn’t have sex with him. Sometime around three in the morning the creak of a chair woke me. I got up and saw Tom trying to sneak into Michelle’s room. I probably should have let him go on in, but I didn’t, instead I said,“Tom!”
He froze, turned around.
“What’re you doing?”
“I’m going to the bathroom” he said and released the doorknob to Michelle’s room.
“Isn’t it the room to your left?” I asked and we exchanged knowing glances.
He gave me a Cheshire grin and came back to our room. I knew he would have cheated on me that night, but he didn’t. And I had Iggy all to myself, could have partied with him, maybe even have gotten his eyes to focus on me for a minute. I didn’t want any more from him that what he was willing to give. Tom’s potential infidelity didn’t mean much to me at that point and so, well, when he climbed into bed, I fucked him.


  1. Jeannette Copas
    Eng 22
    poem 29

    I was locked inside a room with no doors, and no windows too.
    No way to get out, no way to get in, and nothing inside to do.
    As I felt the walls come closing in,
    I couldn't breathe, so I closed my eyes and started to imagine.
    I was in the midst of flight, soaring to and fro.
    I was happy as can be, but when I opened my eyes I was still in the room, with nowhere to go.

  2. Nightmare

    The shredded once white dress clings to the weeds I walk upon bare foot; the silver branches of the old dead trees cling to the dark sea of hair that hangs like a dead animal on my shoulders and down my back. My breath comes in smoke as I exhale and intake a cold stab of air while the moon turns my skin to ice, white, lifeless. In the distance a monster howls in the form of wild dog with fur that is thicker that stands on end, thick, black, only to make its green eyes glow deeper. The ground cracks underme, it opens and crumbles in as I speed my pace but do not run; no sign of life and the forest is eternal in its shadows and dark corners that hide evil, hungry creatures that can smell my blood, that see my pulse and the beating of my heart. I look back once, tripping, I fall and the ground proves solid, wet, cold, I turn feeling its claws on my chest, his knife’s blade runs over my skin caressing, warm to the touch, the moon witnessing, face unchanging, my breath has stopped making clouds but the trees keep pulling at me, the ground opens and swallows me whole with the knife at my heart, silent.

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  4. WE

    My workshop floats high above the windy cliffs.
    I can see the sea where the sunsets to the west,
    And the horizon of the sun rise to the east.
    Walls of glass let warm breezes in,
    But block the cold ones from following.
    I lay down on a couch of soft white fleece
    And dream the world into existence.
    Large screens open surrounding me.
    I can see the world as it unfolds.
    A scientific experiment.
    A balancing act of wills, wits and wants.
    I drown in the colors of my imagination.
    The screens flash so quickly I am swallowed.
    I no longer only see the pictures,
    I feel them inside, outside, and through me.
    There is not a single word to describe this combination of feeling and thought.
    Creation, the closest thing in the English language to represent it.
    My creations are not my own, not yours, not theirs.
    They floats free for all to experience and see.
    It is the WE.
    The connection to life.
    The shared experience of existence.
    The colors our eyes are not programmed to see.
    The things that we miss because weak mind cannot comprehend.
    It is a way of being.
    Being a part of everything.
    Before I close my work shop and enter reality,
    I perform the balance.
    I will return often to work the creation of WE.

    --Kara Lyman-Singleton