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Scintilla : Maggie Harrison

Rick Singfeld said this to me: Don't you want to make love with me? He was thirty-six, picking up on a sixteen-year-old stalking him in a bar. Look how thick his sleaze was: He had a three-month-old child at home with some celebrity wife. I found that out later from a TV Guide article about General Hospital, and I did the math. I knew he was cheese at the time, but I can still admit to arousal when he rubbed his hand across my smooth-shaven leg. The leather barstool felt good under my ass. Of course I was aroused; I was with my first love, Lydia.

I had loved her since seventh grade. My family had moved to another state, deeper into the South, but that didn't stop my devotion. I saved money from babysitting and odd jobs for two years, then took the Amtrak up to Virginia to visit her in July. We had turned sixteen in May and June, and Rick Singfeld's concert was our first driving trip alone, in Lydia's stepsister's sedan with vinyl seats. The windows were down and so was our hair, flipping around our faces the entire forty-five minutes to Roanoke. It was my fever for her that led to my frenzied dance in a camouflage mini-dress in the front row in the first place. I sat on her shoulders, my cotton panties shielded from Rick Singfeld's sight only by Lydia's sinuous neck. He took the red rose I handed him and we shrieked.

As soon as I found myself alone with Rick in the fluorescent light of a hotel room bathroom, Lydia on the bed with the drummer who had flirted with her by showing us both his pubic hair, the feeling was gone. I wanted to be with Lydia. Rick's palms were pressed onto the cold tile wall on either side of my head. He waited for his answer. I knew it was my chance to say "no," perhaps my last one. His tone was condescending; the question was self-evident. Don't you?



Lydia and I were twelve when "Jesse's Girl" came out; Dane Daschel was only one.



For weeks now, I've been stalking Sixteenth and South Van Ness every afternoon for Dane Daschel, also known as Diaspora, "emo-hop" MC and gender educator. I tell my girlfriend I'm just picking up our son, who goes to kindergarten nearby. What would I do if I saw him?

Since I acquired Diaspora's first CD, here's what I've done everyday that I've had an hour away from my family: I listen to him, his raw voice and unpolished musical skill. I hear him rasp at me, speak his youthful angst. Yes, I'm the groupie he asks for, a thirty-five year-old teenager learning about sexuality through a voice.

Don't judge me. It's a thrill. You would be a groupie too – you should, at least, if you could. Dane Daschel is teaching me to jerk off. Do you associate a person with that lesson? A musician, perhaps? Even Bo Derek? Then you know what I mean.

I've come before, of course. I've even ejaculated before, sporadically, though never while masturbating – until now. He does what I like to believe I did for my teenaged boyfriend. I didn't know it then, but he gives me what I always wanted from a teen idol, what not one of them offered.

You've got to know this about me: I don't typically listen to rap, hip hop, or spoken word. Not before Diaspora. I'm a writer, and I usually sit in silence with my words. Sometimes I play the blues and write off of the pacing, but it's rare. I'm not a poet, and I certainly don't slam. What is this guy doing in my world?

It's possible my perception has been altered, so to speak, by my hormones, by the swell in my clit, by the explosion of my coriander cum. When I read the lyrics on the page, I can't say they move me. I've even thought, "How pedantic – ever consider revision, kid?" But I play the CD and there I am squirting into the hand towel again.

I take another dyke-mama with me when I see his performance as Diaspora. I met Geraldine in an insemination support group, and then we were pregnant and nursed together. She has four kids and tattoos with her little girls' names in them, and she knows what it means to linger at a stage door. When I was touching tongues with Rick in Roanoke she was in Bakersfield holding on to Joan Jett's thin black leather buttocks. She'll elevate my coolness without upstaging me, I'm hoping. I'll sit on her shoulders, rub my crotch on her neck, hand Dane a rose.

I'm gambling Geraldine won't share my reaction to Dane; her wife is a beautician and a fashionista. But who knows; who would have guessed it of me? My kid's other mother is over fifty. Her moustache has always turned me on, but I'm nearly as butch as she is.

But my girlfriend has started wearing a foul-smelling cream at night. I told her straight up that she doesn't smell like herself; that stuff smells like an old woman. She still puts it on before we lie down together. What am I supposed to make of that? I don't know where she keeps the bottle, but she smells like an acidic azalea that's been soaking in a vase of camphor. My woman-spunk, on the other hand, smells like cumin and clementines.

You should listen to this music; you'll smell it, too. Cocky punk, sure – this little dude is hot for women, but absolutely queer. It's no secret that Dane's girlfriend is Tess Rune. You know her – prolific dyke writer, purple personality. So her girlfriend became a man. But who made Rune the arbiter of dyke attraction? I didn't plan it this way – jeesus – I didn't intend to brush up against the lesbian literary canon. I fell in lust with him all on my own. It sucks: twenty-five years later, I find out I'm singing the same damn pop song. You know I'm wishing I had Tessie's girl.

Here's another thing that sucks: the sleepless nights, the lyrics that don't stop when I turn him off. Diaspora has to be cuter than P. Diddy – little guy but I don't need your pity... watch them blink and drop their jaws, while other guys pull out their claws... so suck that, bitch... If I could feel her thighs/ that would make me high/ I can't tell another lie/ I was a stressed out guy.

But there's also the goddamn tingle in my fingers and cunt after I come and come and come and howl through seven breaths. The fact that he's got me frothing like a projectile epileptic.

The refrain of my favorite Diaspora song is I'm going to steal your girlfriend – her eyes are burning me. You know she wants me. Defiant queerness. Female desire challenges manhood. Such an immature, playful thrill. I can't get enough of it.

When I see Dane and finally talk to him, here's what I'll say: Don't you want to...


Do you know what I said to him? I screamed a request for my favorite song while he was onstage. My first words to him were as a groupie at his concert. The next week, my five-year-old son recognized the tune I was humming and sang it back to me. Are you singing that stupid song again? That was when I realized I should keep my obsession more private.



I squatted slightly against the wall to duck Rick's professional tongue.

Lydia and the drummer were surprised to see me beaming nervously at the foot of the bed. He had his hand on her back under her shirt. She came to me, wriggling her bra closed, and we giggled and touched foreheads. We held hands as we sidled past the bathroom towards the exit. When we passed Rick, he looked right through us. We had become invisible to him again. I checked to make sure it was really him: his unmistakable jaw line, frayed designer jeans hanging perfectly on his celebrity ass. We were so full of ourselves we tittered and skipped down the hallway. And then: a tiny explosion on Lydia's neck and my finger when I touched her. Our friction with the dark red carpeting had created a scintilla.