Tender Age in Bloom: On the Muse Thalia
In the past few years, two male musicians— Post Malone and Kid Cudi— wore floral dresses as homages to Kurt. I don’t know if I should only be speaking of him in the first person but growing up in post-Nevermind Earth is full of weird grasps to be closer to him. For my slightly obsessive part, the deep dives yield rich, albeit exotic fruit (his Cancer II Moon is fertile ground for acquired tastes). In 2020, I spent a week studying the decans and reading Charles Cross’s 430-page biography of the musician and I can only see that time like a kaleidoscope.
You can point to so many parts of his life, his music, his chart, as to why he still holds our attention after 30 years. Today, I choose to focus on the muse asteroid Thalia conjoining Mercury, his chart ruler. Her name means “flourishing,” and she is the goddess of pastoral poetry, which explores the relationship between humans and nature. No wonder one of her children is most remembered in the flowers he wore. Thalia natives enjoy the natural beauty around them and the adornments it can create to make this world sweet. Life, specifically, the creation of art, can and should be a joy, and playful, like seeing a man wearing a dress.
But to reduce him, or this divine being, to foliage would be a mistake. He left behind journals filled with his fears, political manifestos and love notes; crafted crude yet skilled drawings of aborted fetuses and emaciated bodies; drafts of songs with names like “Immodium” and “Moist Vagina”. I could spend hours watching his performances: the time he kicked out a groper from his packed New Year’s crowd; interviews where the band acts like high schoolers off campus for lunch; and those performances. After rumors swirled about a hospital stay and an overdose, Kurt was wheeled onstage at the 1992 Reading Festival in a long, ratty wig and a hospital gown. When he rose and seamlessly dove straight into “Breed,” I felt the joy of watching an artist who truly doesn’t care while also caring so very much.