When We Were Punk

When we were punk, the city’s sky seemed higher, perhaps only to accommodate our hair. Mohawks prevailed and made even palm trees seem demure. We may as well have taken strips of sidewalk and made them into shoes; both graced simple evening walks with graffiti, made old women watch the ground.

When we were punk, consequences were trivial. It was as logical to select a leather sofa as it would be to sit cross-legged in the dirt. Dirt, at least, had a certain dignity. We spit on designer t-shirts with the only ammo would could afford—biological, that is, being universally available. We wanted to piss on everything with a chrome tag. We thought we knew the truth.

I remember the moon that night, glaring in our faces, ugly almost: swollen and round like a blister ready to burst. The way we pared the air with ourselves, we could have cut it up. When we were punk, we constantly searched for something poetic, as far from shallow as the world would allow.

But the fact was that few of us were there of our own accord. Few of us would have chosen cheap beer over champagne, foster care over a family, bangles of metal over expensive jewelry. Few of us cared. When we were punk, we lived to pretend. Got off on it. Littered streets with our fake clout. Made morality 2D.

I shouldn’t have been surprised to see us blend, one by one, into the paint of a brick building mural.

When we were punk I shook your hand. Now we’re flat, watch you pass, waiting with smiles as wide as the truth.

 

‘When We Were Punk’ is an excerpt from the short story collection Lounge Tales.

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