John Dorsey

Passing Through Leadwood

for Daniel Crocker

just off the ferlin husky highway
i think what would richard hugo
say about this town
that you haven’t screamed
in your sleep
a thousand times before 

fueled by wonder bread & poison
sad songs about tradition & empty storefronts
the ghosts that go away quietly
because they know
that they won’t be missed 

the buildings that crumble
& just slip away
from their foundations 

the houses that look normal
the regret that is bought
& paid for
in generations of blood 

where the sky is a rusted satellite dish
a dirty diaper on the sidewalk
next to the high school  

you & icarus are famous here
like ferlin husky on the wings of a dove 

traveling through the body like cancer 

on its way to somewhere else 

some far away land 

where there is nothing to do
but sing.

John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw's Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015,) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017).  He is the current Poet Laureate of Belle, MO. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at