"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.