Courtney lays back on the bed again, and we are not dreams, not dolls, we have given it all away, the sequins / and slips, the bleaches and hennas, the lotions, potions, needles, kill-me-pills.
– from “Courtney Love Takes Off Her Celebrity Skin”
In 1996 I found myself underneath Courtney Love, trying to figure out where to look as I listened to hear screams. From the front row of that concert, leaning on the monitor where her foot was rested, I was in awe of the sheer power and passion with which she controlled the crowd. This was her show. Her stage. Her songs. And you were not going to look away. She was going to make you listen to each and every word. This was #metoo long before the movement had a name.
Jessie Lynn McMains’ The Girl with the Most Cake: Poems About Courtney Love (Bone & Ink Press) is by no means an ode to Courtney Love. It’s a cautionary tale about personal history, responsibility, respect, and stepping outside of the Teenage Whore, and becoming the antithesis of what you once saw in the mirror. It’s about meeting the boy in the bar, and falling in love with those beautiful blue eyes. It’s the way the “garden grow[s].” It’s how you swear you “know all about those bad men….How only a bad man could love a girl like me. And how I wanted all the bad things they could give me.” It’s the way you walk away from your reflection because you don’t know that person.
This is a call to all who grew up wondering how they ended up who they became, and how to enjoy every second of it before you realize that “no amount of surgery could erase those scars.”