My Own Nirvana
by Amy Dupcak
Catholic school, sixth grade, early into ’96. Boxy desks, white-board markers, snowflake decals decorating windows. A piggy bank named Nicholas and pet chameleons in a tank. A classroom of girls and one unfortunate boy, all wearing maroon and gray plaid.
We are sitting at our desks when Christina presses play on the stereo, filling the room with a serrated guitar riff. The singer’s voice sounds frayed, the music lazed, a melody lurking somewhere underwater. Low “hello”s build to a crescendo of screamed vocals and fast-paced drums. I look down at the lyrics Christina photocopied from the liner notes. What does “libido” or “mulatto” mean? Why does the title mention a deodorant that doesn’t appear in the song?