John Dorsey: “Punk Rock at 45”


Punk Rock at 45

when i look at your life now
i think nancy spungen got off easy
breast cancer at 45
you have be a fighter
to sleep in the streets
with your broken heart
just dangling there
like a locket made of bones

i remember you at 30
& sad

talking about your family
as we drove to 7-eleven
to get hotdogs on christmas eve

how it all came flooding back
your father threatening to drive
the whole family off a bridge
into icy cold arkansas river water
on christmas morning

or the near rape
by a family friend
at fourteen

or the countless bad relationships
that became your anthem
as much as nick cave
or the murder city devils
ever were

your lungs filled up with silence

as the night sky balled up
into a fist
& hurled your childhood
into the past.


Check out our interview with John Dorsey on his book, Letting the Meat Rest.


About the Author: 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), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), 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

More By John Dorsey:

“The Mark Twain Speech”

Image Credit: Digital Art designed by Chase Dimock