Firsts | Tyler Dempsey
“The first album I ever bought, was “Dookie” by Green Day,” said it hundreds, maybe thousands of times, certainly, Billie Joe Armstrong, said, “Dookie” was our first really big album,” one hundred times—defining—buying “Dookie” on cassette, dates me (purchasing “The Chronic” by Dre the same day, dividing, calculating) as driving through Mexico City, sprawling, captured in merging madness, endless-river traffic, I found beautiful, becoming part-complex, sentient surging life, Mexico City inhabitants precisely the number Billie Joe says, “Twenty million,” when asked, How’d the album, do, while “Liquid Dookie,” name bandmates originally pitched label, Reprise, referencing life-on-the-road disorders, spans Armstrong’s mind, twentymillion records, swimming Mexican drivers, a bloodstream twenty million Taco Bell burritos shit like fire sauce annually—anally, Joe’s thoughts around critics’ reception of “Dookie,” how the band “Sold Out,” considering songs as actual shit in minds of Americans/non-Americans “sick of all the same old shit,” released February 1, 1994 (another first) gaining number 2 (hah!) on U.S. charts—that thing with firsts, explosions major labels (Reprise one of which) tasted on the wind, saw the gut churning, nerve-riddled event inviting the group to Disneyland, “What shit!” drummer Tré Cool thought erupting high fives from others, “Fucking shitheads” but then, they did—move—toward something new (not first) after the album—we all did two months before Kurt Cobain no longer tested wind with any finger, my older brother and I driving to the lake blasting “Nevermind” nonstop until mom growled, “Turn that shit off for Christsake!” moving away from, cassettes, early ‘90s, reality fake and hairsprayed since television our parents grew up on was that—until the road curves, forks, again, radio bleating “Cobain dead in his home in Seattle,” sold out, how “I found out what it takes to be a man” what’s happening, laser-cut dystopian shredding hearts, novel we can’t grasp it connected to 39 minutes, 38 seconds of “Dookie,” 39 fucking minutes 38 seconds diving board inhaling chlorine, sunscreen, cracked lips the first time, “take a plunge,” backward—spanning decades—39:38 in February (month of my birth) 1994, older connections grit teeth left molar cracks making coffee, “nuke the bridge we torched 2,000 times before,” out the door 2,000 times bowled over by connections, their weight, firsts, I can’t explain it cause I think you suck.
Tyler Dempsey is an emerging writer from Alaska. His work most recently appeared in trampset, Back Patio Press, SOFT CARTEL, and Gone Lawn.