On March 22, 1989 the orbital path of the Apollo asteroid Asclepius 4581 intersected with the exact location that the Earth had been just six hours earlier. The collision of Asclepius with our planet would not have produced an E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event), however it would have devastated an area the size of a state like Massachusetts, the state where I grew up. Asclepius is also the Greek god of healing, his snake-entangled staff being the symbol for medicine.

I pretend I’m a tiny baby
That can’t keep
Its eyes open

I was twelve years old in 1989. Many formative events transpired that year. George H. W. Bush became president. The Berlin Wall fell.

I cried when the boys in the book
Tore that girls doll
Threw it in the mud

I turned up the wall heater
Moved to my back
And pulled my knees up

The week of our astronomical close call with Asclepius, Debbie Gibson’s hit song “Lost in Your Eyes” lost the #1 spot on the American Top 40 Music Countdown to Mike and the Mechanics’ “The Living Years”.

There was a truck
That lost its breaks
On Colrain Hill
It couldn’t stop

Went by the driveway
To my old house
Passed the graveyard
And hit a green house

“American Top 40” counted down the country’s bestselling and most played songs on the radio. The original host was Casey Kasem until 1989 when the voice coming out of the speakers belonged to Shadoe Stevens.

Riding on my
Gramma’s walk
I heard a crying
From somewhere above

A pregnant lady
Was half out her window
She’d changed her mind
And gotten stuck

The show had a segment called “Long Distance Dedication.” Listeners would call in personal stories about friends or loved ones and request a particularly meaningful song.

A little kid
Choked in class
They said he’s the reason
There’s a hole in pen caps

Mom cried
For the kid’s Mom
She guessed all he thought
Must be just to be with her

I was in the 6th grade in 1989. My teacher Lenny Schoenfeld was an amazing person. While I was his student I often babysat his children and slept at their home.

We read a novel called My Antonia by Willa Cather. Mr. S. asked the class to write a sequel to the book. I wrote that the two main characters fell in love. That was what I wished had happened.

One morning he caught me changing answers on a test. He asked the rest of the class to go to lunch and kept me behind. His fingers were cold on my cheeks when he held my face and asked me if I cheated. I started to cry and said yes.

I slept
Underneath a duvet
Mr. S’s brother
Had a work that made them

Got a book
For my birthday
The two girls in the plot
Were just like Jacob and Esau

Many years later I wrote a song about the things I remember from my childhood that made me want to curl up under the covers

Paul sled
Right into the road
On a winter day
He was hit by a truck

Andrew said
That his face looked strange
We sat together
In the parade

I pretend I’m a tiny baby
That can’t keep
Its eyes open



Melina Ausikaitis is an artist and musician living in Chicago. She has exhibited and performed at such Chicago venues as Museum of Contemporary Art, Empty Bottle, Regards, The Hideout, and Comfort Station among others. Melina often collaborates with artists and organizations including the Hubbard Street dancer and choreographer Jonathan Fredrickson, curating at Chicago’s Rainbo Club, and performing with a handful of Chicago-based musical projects including the band Joan of Arc.





untitled, 2017, men’s shirts and sock, Elmer’s glue, 34 x 74 x 7 inches





American Top 40 from March 25, 1989, 2017, songs cut from vinyl arranged in order of 1-40 from left to right (*full song listing below), 216 x 1/2 inches



untitled, 2017, stuffed bears, 7 second recording of Top 40 songs from March 25, 1989, 14 x 14 x 10 inches



Disintegration, 2017, The Cure CD’s (Disintegration album – 1989), plaster casts of stuffed animal, 136 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 4 inches







The Trail of Meat , 2017, canes, ink, first chapter from White Fang by Jack London (1906), 37 x 8 x 6 inches




*American Top 40 from March 25, 1989: 1. The Living Years – Mike and the Mechanics, 2. Eternal Flame – The Bangles, 3. Girl You Know It’s True – Milli Vanilli, 4. The Look – Roxette, 5. My Heart Can’t Tell You No – Rod Stewart, 6. Lost In Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson, 7. She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals, 8. Walk the Dinosaur – Was (Not Was), 9. Roni – Bobby Brown, 10. You’re Not Alone – Chicago, 11. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses, 12. Dreamin’ – Vanessa Williams, 13. Don’t Tell Me Lies – Breathe, 14. Stand – R.E.M., 15. Just Because – Anita Baker, 16. You Got It – Roy Orbison, 17. Superwoman – Karyn White, 18. You Got It (The Right Stuff) – New Kids On The Block, 19. I Beg Your Pardon – Kon Kan, 20. Your Mama Don’t Dance – Poison, 21. More Than You Know – Martika, 22. Cryin’ – Vixen, 23. Straight Up – Paula Abdul, 24. Heaven Help Me – Deon Estus, 25. Like A Prayer – Madonna, 26. Funky Cold Medina – Tone Loc, 27. I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi, 28. Second Chance – .38 Special, 29. Surrender to Me – Ann Wilson and Robin Zander, 30. Room To Move – Animotion, 31. Rocket – Def Leppard, 32. Thinking of You – Sa-Fire, 33. Sincerely Yours – Sweet Sensation and Romeo J. D., 34. The Lover In Me – Sheena Easton, 35. She Won’t Talk To Me – Luther Vandross, 36. Orinoco Flow – Enya, 37. The Love In Your Eyes – Eddie Money, 38. Wild Thing – Tone Loc, 39. Feels So Good – Van Halen, 40. One – Metallica