1. Hotel Congress centennial

    80s Night — Some Hair Metal Song by Torran Anderson

    80s Night – Some Hair Metal Song
    By Torran Anderson
    For Michelle

    Fake headbanging hair we don’t have
    fingers raised in devils horns, to some song, maybe:

    And here I go
    again on my own—
    going down the only road
    I’ve ever known

    Ghosts mingle through the lobby
    searching for familiar faces and fresh air
    just like the rest of us.
    “Hey,” she says, squeezing through the crowd,
    “we used to ride the school bus together.”

    The music flooding out the door,
    I can’t quite place her face, and it might have been:

    Every rose has its thorn,
    just like every night has its dawn,
    just like every cowboy sings his sad,
    sad song

    There aren’t sparkles in our eyes like blue suburban skies
    but I remember her sitting in the front of the bus,
    with her two brothers, long black hair, walking home swinging her lunch box in circles.
    “We had the same bus stop,” I say.

    The music is loud and joyfully cheesy, and it could have been:

    Love bites, love bleeds
    it’s bringin’ me to my knees

    The ghosts drift off into the café
    to haunt the rotating dessert display
    and count the pennies on the floor.
    We piece together the random stops of a mutual history,
    passing each other by a high school locker, at a gallery exhibit, but there was somewhere
    and it doesn’t really matter where we met before
    because the song that was playing was definitely:

    Heaven isn’t too far away
    closer to it every day