My Favorite Popular Song

by Karen Topakian

When I want to put a bounce in my step. Abba singing Mamma Mia does the trick.

In my defiant moods, I turn to Bruce’s Born to Run. Cranked up.

To scream from the pit of my soul, I unleash Joe Cocker’s Unchain My Heart.

To bring back to life my dearly departed friend Mary Levesque. I move to Michael Jackson’s album Thriller. That girl Mary swept away every dust bunny and cobweb on our hardwood dining room floor in Jamestown, RI. Singing and dancing her heart out.

For singing and dancing at the top of my lungs with my cousin Diane, Diana Ross’ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough wins hands down. On that same Jamestown dining room floor late at night with our drunk sweaty friends in those endless fun nights of our 20’s.

La Bamba becomes my beloved partner Peg and I dancing on the deck of her family’s summer house, off-season in Maine. The slanted fall light falling on her face as she stomped her feet to the beat.

And then there’s Brick House by the Commodores. The song blaring from the Boston gay bar, Twelve, the night my friend Harvey and I were barred from entering. Because they didn’t think we were queer. Despite my protestations. That I was a dyke. Proved by my San Francisco address. And the length of my nails and hair. Short. We were shut out of a hot dance club playing the hottest music. Now he and I will never forget “She’s a brick—-house  Mighty mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out.”