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Kristofer Collins: Gene’s Last Chance

for Scott Silsbe


Pity Gene for washing up here

dry as no August ever was

in Pittsburgh, scorched and sanded

of tongue and bereft of options.

Pity us for stinginess and never rolling

a solitary die and trying our luck.

I heard the rotgut came equipped

with a fresh razor blade tucked

in the shallow well of each shot

sleek as a fish under the mud

there to satisfy that final urge.

Anyway, I remember we talked

about rolling in one night

to sample the sauce, but on

spying the sparse parking lot

kept on going, not ready

to call it quits and join old Gene 

in the gullet of oblivion, this city

still a siren out there singing

so beautifully, and that song still

something we needed to hear.

Kristofer Collins is the longtime Books Editor for Pittsburgh Magazine. He is the co-curator of The Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series. His latest book The River Is Another Kind of Prayer: New & Selected Poems was published in 2020 by Kung Fu Treachery Press. His latest project is The Pittsburgh Book Review. He lives in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Stanton Heights with his wife and son.

Image: Adrian Piper, The Barbie Notebooks

Poem copyright 2020 Kristofer Collins

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This entry was posted on August 5, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged , , .

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