"Degrees of Gray on Ashland Ave" by John Dorsey
for richard hugo and robert brundage

 

you might come here

looking for bones

bob brundage’s smile winking

a gift from the moonlight

passing through the trees

beneath the roots

he fought so hard for

 

scott high school on the radio

& chester’s fried chicken

sold on the same corner

where i once saw nick muska

search empty bus stops

for a $5 blowjob on his 64th birthday

 

he had to make it quick

before the candles blew out

 

on ashland ave

 

where i once

felt true joy

walking home

from manhattan’s

to a room

the size of a prison cell

that cost me 75 bucks a month

& all the sanity i could spare

 

where upward mobility

meant spaghetti instead of ramen

shared with a punk rock girl

on at least half a dozen

off-brand antipsychotics

 

where nobody has ever loved anyone

as much as they thought was possible

at sixteen

 

where the heart still aches

 

while we wait to ask the dead

for their forgiveness

 

before turning out the lights.