Paris on the Platte was too-big pitchers of too-watered down chai. Clove cigarettes and smoking them inside before smoking inside was made illegal. Smoking them outside in the cold made better by the company of either of the two R’s I loved as a teenager.

For 10 years, I’ve been a rebel. All those drippy, wet teenage emotions, Paris held them, held the hearts of both men I’ve ever loved, and every woman, and every bottomless pitcher and every matchbook and every Pixies song. It is vast enough to contain the entire narrative of my adolescent years.

Once, E & D, breaking heart[s], put me in the backseat of E’s silver Mazda 3 and sped me down Santa Fe to Paris for the first time, no doubt somewhere I wasn’t actually allowed to go back then, but my parents never knew. We were listening to Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. The coffee they ordered steamed, the walls were red, and I had never been anywhere so real. Which is to say, I was 16 and all I was looking for was somewhere to run to where I could beat my heart as loudly as I needed, burn myself in a cylinder of smoke to the angsty soundtrack of my sad punk heart.

For two years, I tried to draw what it felt like to be there.

To the house of my longing, pulsing, skin & bone teenage body, thank you for giving us a place to be the weird theater kids we were and always will be.

I took these photos in the fall of 2007. David Bowie was playing. I could have been there with anyone. Sometimes memory just doesn’t serve.

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