j o s h u a    y o u n g


from Neighborhoods









            if i open the parts will flutter

we found reasons to stay—

            you were terrible with suitcases

            i was heavy




yeah those are foxes at the door

sniffing around

i think we better get back to work

i want to say go fuck yourself

but the weather is simple

my mother hasn't called in a week.

the tvs lining the walls keep

playing the verve pipe—

in that church van we clicked

through every station playing that song,

& by the end of the dial

we overlapped growling out lyrics.

how much space can you fill?




lovers lovers

guilt stacking, fiction

building reservoirs

the dizzy and shake of rails.

who are these people blaming their sins on the fall?

the hymnal stacks go silent

divide buildings into sections to stop

fire from spreading.

the lake is tender—

we were drunk

i was not magnificent.

it was easier




before i left the church

my pastor used to produce

stats to prove his point—

89% of gay men cheat on their partners.

i didn't know to ask for citations

but the room shrank

tightening around us

a response did not come,

he opened the bible

this is / could be

an example of ethos without precision

the conversation is one-sided

who said anything about faith

there's a hooded kid asking

people to buy him cigarettes

or beer or both

here        this is where we scratch out—

you were /are

a great moment




there are people climbing towers

there are fish floating in the pond

there are bare-chested men

there are beach-towels & flip-flops

i will not put it down when you ask

the jet path parallels the next block

& we learn to pause when they pass

who let california in?

she wants us to be celebrities

keep crooning

keep noise

i wish we spent more time together

like the kardashians

wait wait wait wait wait

she is asleep

your brother does not agree

but pretends to


Joshua Young is the author of four collections, most recently THE HOLY GHOST PEOPLE (Plays Inverse Press). His work has appeared is Puerto del Sol, Gulf Coast, Fugue, PANK, Bat City, Third Coast, Night Block, and others. He is Associate Director of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches in the MFA and BA programs. He is editor-in-chief at The Lettered Streets Press. He lives in the Wicker Park neighborhood with his family. Find him here.

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