by Ally Young
Ally Young is an MFA candidate at Syracuse University and an Editor in Chief at Salt Hill Journal. Her work has appeared or is scheduled to appear in The Bennington Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Metatron, Bone Bouquet, and elsewhere. Her chapbook The West and Other Mistakes is available via Dancing Girl Press. She lives primarily on her bicycle and online here: allyhyoung.com.
THE ACTUAL STARS
Her first real gig was at some bad roller rink.
It was then that I realized that I am nothing
compared to singing to strangers.
Compared to aching
over this life.
That night, I stopped like a California fir alone
in a field on fire.
But, onstage she had a kind of a breakaway moment. It was full on and over-the-top.
A kind of a combination of us.
This burning life -
no wonder I was scared.
My cousin, Free and I, out alone on the lake in the dark.
I was a girl but wanted to be some other kind of animal.
There were sequins. More than that, I said,
there was the most extreme light.
TALK TO ME
I was going on fourteen, and a new kind of a big deal
in Varsity shorts.
We had heard about love and so we waited and waited
and my friends were getting after it
so we had a bottle of vodka in the car,
and we thought everything was everything
and we were not embarrassed yet.
I was one of those people who film crisis
I was all
I could cut all my hair off
and eat a whole Passionfruit with all of its pits.
At Penn Station I saw someone mumbling something about someplace
I learned it all backwards,
Talk to me
I was bad.
DOUBLE SOLAR ECLIPSE
I turned sixteen one night and my heart was mine
pounding and shaking.
I was already a half a star. And I was always free
but this was my day
What did the whole truth look like? This huge always
and all the things.
I think I needed something blue
in my heart.
I think I was not in love
Author's Note: These poems consist entirely of words and phrases from Cher's memoir The First Time and from my own middle school diaries.