We kept the radio on all day long.
The news came on at noon. Reagan,
Tommy brushed his fingertips
over the freshly primed fender
of another rust-bucket Monte Carlo,
feeling for waves, bows, any
imperfections in the once rotted places
he’d filled and shaped with fiberglass resin.
Next door, the whitewashed Lighthouse
Salvation Church Of The Redeemer
sat boarded, a rusted air conditioner
hanging above the inlaid cross,
housing nests of robins in May and June.
Chicory nodded from a bed of weeds
in the planter between Washington Ave.
and the sidewalk. Racine.
Anywhere. Nowhere. Tommy,
I remember your white-boy boogie
whenever Prince came careering
out of the boom-box, coaxing,
let’s go crazy,
and the yellow paint-thinner
barrel where we huffed on a soaked rag
behind the paint booth. You asked me once
to read you what the big warning label
with the skull and cross bones on it said.
“Toxic,” is what it said.
Except for words on a page,
you could put anything together.
It was always cooler back there,
the windows flung wide, air hoses hissing,
the Sandinistas we hallucinated
with their Russian made AK’s, climbing
the tangled trees behind the shop, green
and blending in with the canopy of leaves.
Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to . Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.