2024 Melinda Wyers
Welcome to Y2KQ!

Owed to the Six Inches of Sidewalk Scum at the Bottom of My Pants, ca~1999 & 2024


When I found them on the sale rack at Target, I audibly squealed in joy.  Really,
honest to Gawd, the other lady thumbing thru the weird or one-sized in the back
side-eyed me but I digress.  They're absolutely perfect, dead on, so much so that
I suspect a fashion designer unearthed a treasure trove of my & my sister's clothes

from somewhere around the turn of last century at a yard sale, modernized a detail
or the stitching or the wash style of the denim & tossed them back out on the rack
for a geriatric Millennial to get super excited over. They are pure consumer nostalgia,
the wide legged denim monstrosities slightly short of a JNCO measurement that swoosh

just like then, no spandex filler or butt crack hanging out that came along later,
a solid denim with the back hem scrubbed off & holding six inches of sidewalk scum.
My dad coined the phrase one rainy afternoon in a world that still had both

a wall phone & dial-up, an encyclopedia set & Google. He eyeballed the water line
that had crept up to my mid-calf & flatly announced that I must have every drop
of spit, dip, dogshit, mud, motor oil, antifreeze & water from the sidewalk
& looked at me with disgust. ""Why do you look like a bum?"" he asked in an ugly,

social control way he was so very good at.  These are the DeLiA*s pants of catalog lore,
the clothes that fit Ali Brothers & no one else EXCEPT they actually make my size  
this time. The front pockets are useless & can hold chapstick or a pen or a lighter

(this is me, both then & now) but not all three at once plus - & this is why I suspect
these time machine pants were a yard sale find, revised - the pockets poke out
the top edge so perfectly. Anyone in the late 90s with a FUPA could not escape
the constant reminder of bones-over-skin in magazines & on TV, the Golden Age of Groomers.

Victoria's Secret was Ghislaine Maxwell's underwear closet, heroin chic was all the rage, when
Rose McGowan stared back at all of us with that mesh dress, empty eyes & wearing Marilyn Manson on her arm.
When this one time at band camp & covered with rose petals but not you, you're too big to be beautiful.

Add a sprinkle of a Smashing Pumpkins or Blink 182 or Everclear or Foo Fighters or Veruca Salt
t-shirt & You Are Here, standing in an office, now middle aged on Casual Friday.  This is not
a problem, just a matter of reality when poets have bills to pay, too.  The shoes are different
because adults can afford Doc Martens & Chuck Taylors melt after one wear in the rain after the 90s.

There are six inches of joyful sidewalk scum attached to the bottom of my pant legs. No one cares.

Heidi Taylor (@AquariusRevival) is a poet & philosopher + developer of the Mattel Aquarius.  A native Kentuckian, she is a team reader for Taco Bell Quarterly (@TBQuarterly), proudly serves an IT Technician in Niagara Falls, NY, & holds an MFA of Poetry from the Naslund-Mann School of Writing (@SpaldingWriting).

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