My First Piece of Madonna

This was my very first Madonna poster. It hung in my childhood bedroom in the summer of 1991, so this is sort of a summer memory – the summer I came to love Madonna. It was right around the time when Truth or Dare was released, and the movie won me back into the Ciccone fray. Then and there I became a fan for life. True, I had always adored her music – and she was the first artist whose albums I listened to and loved in their entirety – but this was the first piece of pop icon memorabilia that I deigned to put on the wall – as much for its content as for its own artistic merit (how cool is this for a poster?)

It was a good summer, for the most part, one of the last before adolescence got in the way and things really fell apart, and I remember staring up at this poster on my wall late at night, lying on the floor in front of the air conditioning vent, idly reading the immensity of David Copperfield and living, in my head, the horrors and fascinations of Dickensian England. Those nights, spent in solitude with the door closed, and the lights on, were both a relief, and a prison. I looked out onto the street, hidden and obscured by the darkness, and the thick leafy expanse of an ancient, thorny hawthorn that rose up to and beyond my second floor window. A street lamp glowed on the island in the middle of the road, throwing its chemical light over the grass and pavement.

The world beyond my window was supposedly a dim and frightening one, but I couldn’t wait to enter it. On some nights I would sneak out the kitchen door, steal into the night, and wander the neighborhood streets. Prowling into the earliest hours of the morning, when most of the houses were already asleep. Once in a while the light of a television would flicker on the ceiling, or someone would be on their front step smoking. We shared the secret chambers of the sleepless. There was a camaraderie among those of us out in the darkness, an unsaid connection between anyone whose province is the night.

Back in my bedroom, Madonna watched over things until my return. I looked up at the glow from my window, wondering what others saw, wondering if anyone noticed.

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