An Open Letter to the Emo Boy with the Sweet Brown Eyes on the Blue Line, Thursday, October 5, 7:30pm
Dear Emo Boy,
First of all, let me say that I like your tilted haircut.
You were reading a small paperback, folded over, like a Sixties or Seventies Penguin or Avon edition of something classic. It was slim enough to be Siddartha, but too small for Atlas Shrugged or Foucault's Pendulum. And I don't think Emo boys read Bukowski, that was really favored by the post-punk malcontent boys of my own era.
Because the thing is, Emo Boy, while I was struck by your ragged but clean boyishness, I recognized there's a Lake Michigan of age that laps our shores. I mean, the small paperback volume I have at home that resembles yours is The Awakening, which I would not have understood whatsoever when I was 22 and listening to Matthew Sweet's "I Thought I Knew You" when I wanted to really work up some sentimental anguish over something or someone, just like you probably listen to Joan of Arc sometimes and stare stonily out the train window instead of reading your novelette.
Would you mind that I like to sing along with circa 1988-90 George Michael?
But seriously, I think your book looked interesting, whatever it was (from Myopic?), and so handy since you could hold the door rail and read as we lumbered under Milwaukee Avenue.
After we both exited the train at Damen, I noticed the Walkman cassette player clipped to your studded belt. You listen to tapes! What were you listening to? It couldn't have been too sad because you seemed--without even knowing you--cheerful...? I don't want to scare you off or anything, but Emo Boy, I have so many tapes. I even purged like three-quarters of them, and they still fill a filebox to its brim. Maybe we could listen to tapes together sometime? I know, I know, there's probably very little in that box that interests you, maybe the New Order Power, Corruption and Lies tape that was a used copy even when I found it. Or The Dream of the Blue Turtles might just make you chuckle since I bought it the year you were born. Then again, if you are listening to tapes on a cassette Walkman, you must be listening to older stuff, because I don't really know if Jets To Brazil releases tapes, do they? I haven't bought a new album on tape since 2000, when you could still get them at that short-lived Coconuts on Damen. And, okay, I admit it: Kylie Minogue's Fever was the tape I bought there, maybe because it was less shameful the less money I spent on it--but have you ever heard that song? La-la-la, la-la, lala-la, la-la-la, la-la, lala-la, Can't Get You Out of My Head? It's fierce.
Anyway, maybe we listen to some tapes, I still have a stereo with cassette player...we can meet in the middle with some Bowie? Some "Moonage Daydream?"
You know, Emo Boy, when I was your age had our own Emo, and it was called Weezer. Well, they are still called Weezer, but I think they were/are Emo. What do you think? I mean, I think when I sang (and sing) along with "Say It Ain't So," it feels like what Emo should feel like, despondent but...literate, angry--but a rage mild enough to throw only a sentimentally-saved bouquet of dead flowers in the garbage.
Which is what I think I saw in your huge bear-brown eyes: intelligence, with a capacity for woe. Like in The Great Gatsby, how Nick can see Myrtle Wilson's "tremendous vitality" in her dead, gaping mouth when she's dead in the Valley of Ashes.
Now, that's something that actually sounds like Emo.
Maybe you can explain it to me over chai lattes at Earwax? Hopefully they will play the Police box set while we're there, and it'll mist with cold, grey rain outside.
Until then, I'm yours, wistfully,