teenage icons

So yeah, I was in high school in the late 80s, and obsesssedddddd with 10,000 Maniacs. (At least up until “Our Time in Eden.”) Michael’s comment on my last post reminded me of Natalie Merchant & how adorable she was.


Picture this: my high school graduation, I’m in a lilac floral grunge dress, lilac dr martens, & with my giant red curly hair, singing “these are days.” I should try to dig up photos while I’m in Vermont. [edit: here!] Ridiculous! Oh dear! That’s how bad the obsession was! Singing songs at graduation!


greta’s cedar hope chest
is full of pamphlets
glass shelves of romantic vignettes
a journal laced with sedimentary prose

norma gathers and collects vintage photoplays
hair combs valentines

lillian allows the animals to scratch
and the leather crack
the mail collect in the box as coatings peel

agnes veiled cathedral dweller
smiles with benevolent pain
it’s katrina’s fair tuesday morning
as she with caution unlatches the flat door
she alone cascades to the basement
careful not to spoil her
calico printed pinafore
composite traits mannerists
all others dissipate

margauritte vigilant dwells upon frigid casements

sarah’s thoughts in the velocity
accusations always pierce and pass

clara abandons her passions for distastes
miss lenora p. sinclair
early for coffee in the pool
“i’m resituating all your words”

sylvia keeps beasts in jars labeled
kingdom phylum class order family genus species



  1. tamera! i was so obsessed with them. omg. every once in a while i drag out hope chest, ian cringes and leaves the apartment and i’m totally blissed out, remembering all of the lyrics. funny, i always consider them a guilty pleasure. i’m glad to see you display your love so unabashedly.

  2. Ha, yes. My dad used to say terrible things about her voice when I’d play them in the car. I figure most people are too young to remember them. ;D

    I just watched the new Brideshead Revisited movie (newish, as in, not Jeremy Irons) & the Julia lady looked like Natalie.

  3. Hahah!! There are few singers I hate more than Natalie Merchant! I’m curious what your dad used to say — I think she sounds like she has a throat full of mucous and marbles!

    That said, it’s fun to look at these pictures, because they definitely capture that early-’90s girly-grunge look pretty perfectly. I can definitely see you in that graduation outfit. :)

  4. I loved her too!!! I was just thinking about her yesterday and wondering what happened to her! Seeing Natalie Merchant was the first big “concert” I went to. lol!

  5. two of my high school friends did a dance to Verdi Cries, including sign language in their slow, artful moves. if i saw it now i would prolly barf from the excess of cheese, but i treasure the memory, and how WE all cried when they performed it at the Spring Recital. Let the world know I heart Natalie Merchant too!!! Motherland is my fave song of her solo stuff. Rich.

    p.s. thanks for the high school picture- classic, mamma.

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