Caroline Crew

Boys on the Radio

Ok, so there’s Orpheus, and the beasts lay down and the birds adore him and he actually seems like maybe, maybe an ok guy, doubting aside, but you have to ask exactly what happened when Eurydice followed him back from Hades, no questions, if she really would have followed her husband if she’d known that thousands and millions of teenage girls and not so teenage women would keep following her up toward the light, if she’d seen me following the creepy drummer, the emo guitarist, the good drummer, at least a few bassists, the amateur anythings to dingy bars, muddy fields, repurposed churches, and hotel lounges, would she, Eurydice, the very first groupie, have made an actual decision and stayed down there—think of the things Eurydice’s eye-lined army of girls could have achieved if she’d stayed in hell: a presidency, a sales tax system that refunds tampons, tampons that don’t smell like the perfumed closet drawers of some aunt’s house, maybe just free tampons, a fourth Bikini Kill album, an actual verifiable reason for “fat-free” to mean “cardboard-tasting,” condoms that don’t feel impossibly cold when trashing them, a fourth Tuscadero reunion, any Helium reunion, a better version of the speculum, a cure for endometritis, a cure for the wage-gap, a cure for love songs in which the girl is coy and that’s a crisis; think of the things I could’ve achieved: unmarred lungs, extra-credit, any musical skill of my own, a better resumé, a better dating resumé, a working knowledge of how income tax actually works, more income, a less selfish approach to volunteering, teeth to make an American dentist proud, fewer face holes: staying in hell and getting shit done—isn’t that more punk than sneaking into gigs when you’re a kid and dating an older guy, when in fact you aren’t the one moving anywhere, your body is being dragged down into a pit where you don’t question why a fifteen-year-old in fishnets isn’t ID’ed at the bar or why an almost thirty-year-old man is dating a fifteen-year-old and nobody mentions the word statutory or thinks to gently take you aside in the dank basement club bathroom where the toilet doors are long gone but that scratched out graffiti has been layering phone numbers on the wall since the 80s and say honey, let’s talk, and sure the fifteen-year-old in the fishnets would probably have eye-rolled like that one girl I saw at a show years later, when I’d given up kohl completely, maybe she was 16 and maybe she did look like a younger me, but even so I could see her and I could see the drinks she didn’t buy at the bar and I could see who was buying them and his sleight of hand not fooling even your shittiest mall magician, and when I put my hand on her shoulder she shrugged with an eye roll that could’ve triggered an avalanche and it crushed me, which is all to say that Eurydice might not have saved us, if she’d said fuck it, said anything and stayed back in hell, but Eurydice, girl, hell might’ve let us play our own songs.

 

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Caroline Crew is the author of PINK MUSEUM (Big Lucks, 2015), as well as several chapbooks. Her poetry and essays appear in Conjunctions, Salt Hill Journal, and Black Warrior Review, among others. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD at Georgia State University, after earning an MA at the University of Oxford and an MFA at UMass-Amherst. She’s online here: caroline-crew.com