“Ramonesian”

“Once it arrived it was obvious, had a common name already known: punk.  Or new wave.  They were related strands: Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Cheap Trick.  Discerning their difference, articulating your precise relation, that was part of the point, a continuum of the now it was suddenly clear anyone could be placed on.  Even the longhaird stoners in their refusal were anti-punk, defining something.

Tim came to school one day with a point-studded dog collar.  He showed them how it worked, a simple snap.  Gabe taunted him uneasily for a week, then went out and bought a Ramonesian leather jacket loaded with zippers and buckles, smelling of preservatives and sizing, almost like one of Abraham’s canvases.  Gabe slapped the jacket against a rock in the park, trying to age it.  They studied the results.  The jacket looked new as licorice.  Or the problem was themselves, their bangs, hair curled over their ears.  The next week Tim and Gabe returned from Roosevelt Island having fucked up their hair with children’s scissors.  The jacket looked slightly improved.

Tim smoked cigarettes now.

Gabe etched a tiny swastika on his forearm with a razor blade.  ‘You know what my parents would do to me if they saw this?’ he whispered darkly, like he’d been kidnapped by Satanists and forced to recite a pledge.”

–Jonanthan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

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