Joshua Young
Milo Goes to College, then Comes Back & Plays Shows

the descendents are playing again & half way through their set someone yells at milo, calls him a nerd, yells, how’s school, faggot? milo throws the mic into that kid’s face & the floor crevices, bodies disappear in the wreckage, m told us the descendents were done, but here they are, bruising scars into the stage—& it takes ten minutes to settle the churn. they keep playing, milo screaming the lyrics, i’m not a punk, how can i be? show me— pretending his hand is the mic.

August ‘82

reagan doesn’t want to talk about it, but some of the kids are on it. writing that on walls in capitol hill, & we hear about it happening in the dorms on campus. m tells us he’s losing friends to aids, says it’s nothing to laugh about. someone asks him if it really is a gay cancer. he says, there are straight people dying from it too.

next time akfd plays, we walk out, but m stays. the next day he’s got cuts across his nose & his knuckles are open sores. we don’t ask him about it, but at the show that night, the kill rooms tell us about m getting on stage & taking on the band, tells us that m didn’t stop swinging till a group of punks dragged him outside. & there are kids talking about how m put people in the hospital, but later that night we see akfd standing outside cellophane square, drinking beers out of paper bags, black eyes & bruises. they ask if m’s around. we don’t answer them, we keep walking.

they tell us m’s dying from the gay disease they tell us they might kill him before it gets him.

Joshua Young is the author of six collections, most recently, THE HOLY GHOST PEOPLE (Plays Inverse Press, 2014), and the forthcoming, Psalms for the Wreckage (Plays Inverse Press, 2017) and with Alexis Pope, I Am Heavy w/ Feeling (Fog Machine Press, 2017). His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Puerto del Sol, Fugue, Vinyl, Court Green, Salt Hill, and others. His feature film, Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes? was an official selection at Seattle International Film Festival, Montreal International Black Film Festival, and Athens International Film Festival. He is Editor-in-Chief at The Lettered Streets Press and works at the University of Chicago. He lives in the Albany Park neighborhood with two humans (and two cats).