Desire // Gene Loves Jezebel

Oh honey, I won't be kissing you
And I've been wondering, where it is you're hiding
I've been a ball of fire in your arms desire
And I've been wondering, where it is you're hiding

What you get is what you seek


I actually had intended on posting a song by GLJ before the Bowie song. My sleep has been so broken these past few weeks that I honestly don’t know my head from a hole in the ground some days, so I forgot. And then, remembered. So it goes.

Gene Loves Jezebel was one of my faves back in the day for no other reason than they had their own unique sound on the first couple of albums that no one ever quite emulated (or tried to emulate, for that matter). Twins, Michael and Jay Aston took turns singing until the whole band absolutely imploded in a most spectacular fashion with brother suing brother for the name and song rights and running two versions of the band called “Gene Loves Jezebel” run out of two different countries an ocean apart… As far as I know, they are still feuding and I don’t know if anyone knows the real reason why. Like hair-pulling, eyeball-scratching cat fight feuding…

This song is not one of their unique sounding efforts. They decided by this point they wanted to sell records, so they smoothed the rough edges while still retaining their signature sound.

Jay, their primary guitarist in the early years, sings this song, with Michael (primary singer) singing backup.

I met Jay and Pete Rizzo when they played in Minneapolis in support of Echo and the Bunnymen (along with New Order as the second set of the three). I had a habit of going to venues early before a concert and this was on the U of MN campus so, naturally, the student-run college radio station leveraged an interview and it happened to be on the front steps of the Northrup (awesome venue at the time). A small cadre of fans (including myself) got to sit down with them as long as we promised to stay quiet during the interview. Jay kept putting his arm around me and hugging me and I was quite flattered by the attention he gave me. I don’t know if it was anything more than I was sitting next to him and he was feeling huggy with fans, so I just went with that at the time and since then. It didn’t feel like he was flirting and I don’t know if that is his thing anyway.

I’ve met quite a few famous (or semi-famous) musicians over the years and, for the most part they’ve been pretty cool folks without being flakes (with several exceptions, which I won’t go into here). This is one of those cases where I felt I could probably be good friends with the band members I’d met if we just happened to bump into each other and start talking in a bar, a café, or a party. Jay and Pete were nice guys.

For the record, the one song I “sang” in my goth band was an homage to GLJ, and I tried to sing in Jay’s style. I was told to sing it because the normal lead singer didn’t like my lyrics (I wrote all but about 2 of the songs’ lyrics for the band) about prostitution, but he liked the finished product — he just didn’t want to sing about folks and their orgasms.


Trivia: Julianne Regan from All About Eve played bass for Gene Loves Jezebel in the early days, before their first album.

Lady Stardust // David Bowie

People stared at the makeup on his face
Laughed at his long black hair, his animal grace
The boy in the bright blue jeans
Jumped up on the stage
Lady Stardust sang his songs
Of darkness and disgrace

Of all the Bowie albums, Ziggy Stardust resonated with me the most. Sure, Bowie had some great songs and great albums, but this one is one I go back to regularly over the others because of this song and a handful of others. While no one ever directly referred to me as “Lady Stardust” during my senior year in high school (my most “goth” phase), it was whispered that I was going to be one of those “rock and roll suicides”, and any time Bowie was played on a boombox in the “mall” (greenspace where most of us misfits ate our lunch between the buildings of the school) while we smoked our smokes and pulled our poses, people would be sure to crank this song up if I was in the area. Or the aforementioned song. I assume it was implied that they both were applicable to me in retrospect, especially a year or so later when I’d heard the “suicide” label had been applied to me — although it hadn’t been the misfits, punks and rockers who had given me the label.

While I hadn’t consciously emulated Bowie in my teen years, there were some similarities — I had a fuck-all approach to gender norms when it came to clothing, was one of the only boys who wore eye make-up all of the time, and I was more effeminate than almost anyone else at the school (hell, most of Minneapolis, save for the avowed crossdressers), with a few exceptions. While I went more dark than glam, Bowie and I were both disinterested at some point in our lives in being defined by gender norms. I’ve mentioned this before, but I was asked to model a man’s dress at one point for a clothing designer because of this couldn’t-give-two-shits attitude about clothing. I’ve also said I almost regret leaving the city before she could make it happen. It would have been epic.

Anyway — I vaguely recall someone making a joke about me, calling me “Queen Michael” or “Lady Michael” back then and also recalling that, while it was meant to make me feel bad about my wayward life choices, I also recall responding with either a pair of birds or flashing Vs at them. I wasn’t insulted, but I had to play my role as the surly waste of air.

ripple in water/

©2021 Michael Raven

i need to scream but
my mouth is sutured
by waxed thread
and geas-bound
my eyes are teeth
pressed flat with coin
for the ferry
my breath a razor
ribbon shred my throat
fingers broken in motion
making pictures 
out of words
i want i want i want
they say
but no echo


party of one/

©2021 Michael Raven

i am drunk
though no whiskey have i had
it is the woven words
writhing and twisting
and spinning around
i find so intoxicating
reading between those

s  p  a  c  e  s


|  l  |  i  |  n  |  e  |  s  |



in between
that fill me with vertigo
like a record, baby
round round round round
waiting for the room
grind to a stop
the moon laughing
for i am beloved by the moon, a
Photo by Daniel Ababei on


©2021 Michael Raven

Photo by Magda Ehlers on
puzzles my jigsaw pieces
tumble to the floor
all three boxes -- four!
dizzy in this haze
of words, flames and
i cannot sort the piles
much less make the
pictures complete