#296: The Smiths, "Meat is Murder" (1985)




A a descriptive or anecdotal treatise on a mythological or real animal.



The generational cohort following the Baby Boomers.

A bestiary for a Gen-X boy

Get him to quote the Smiths. Quote them back to him with ellipses, a double bed and a stalwart lover for sure….Make him believe that sex is all you think about but never what you ask for, let his need hover in the spaces between.

Wear Doc Martens, own stilettos, paint your lips. Ask him about the books he's reading, the songs on his mixtape. Correct yourself, playlist, and laugh like music. Be the wild-art girl he wanted in college, not the dull-sincere woman he is married to now. You are wanton but chaste, your longing written in lipstick across your breasts.

His kiss is haunted by cigarettes. Meat is Murder but you'd still eat his dick just so long as the hotel room is in his name. But it may never come to such a headmaster ritual. He will love you on Sundays down the page, cut you on Monday in letters scrawled across.

Love is a fork in the road. He will either say three words too often or never, become an anchor or an island. The joke has ceased to be humorous, but you will always laugh. His winter heart craves the applause, the static and spotlights of a happier time. Your affection will be an encore in the theater of his life and in return, he will shower you with praise. You will be brilliant and witty, charming in an age that trades in quick vulgarity.

Expect no promise. This love is going nowhere fast. But trust that he is lying in his tent in the middle of the night with his eyes on the ceiling, imagining brass and leather, red wine and white sheets. He tastes your mouth, conjured from the digital space, from paperbacks printed on cheap ink.

But there is a box in his closet, band shirts and flannel, a pair of jeans soft as tissue that he lied about throwing away. Here is where he stores his heart on cassettes that cannot be replayed, a chess game never finished. Here is where he keeps you, safe from the world.

So you will meet in coffee shops and quiet bars, travel to cities hours away for a moment of badinage with a man who cannot ever be yours. But you will never truly be his either, this love is a black box masquerade, ice in a tumbler. You will say goodbye on a cracked sidewalk, his breath white between you. Well, I wonder….

—Libby Cudmore