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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