A Difference in Nothing

by Myra Pearson

sometimes the self bottoms out
leaks out gives out
in parts too light to
cast a shadow you
want to put it in that
proper place you
claw at air because
you can’t see
a difference in nothing
and what you are made of
is getting away but
they told you being
invisible was your power
and that you could buy
a life of meaning
that money could crash
the glass ceiling
why did you ever believe
the voices that move into
your head but don’t pay rent?

fool’s mate

by Jake Tringali

skin-deep, midway, all the way
geared in violet
(very little violet)
her body made for Rebellion
legs pointed, arms precise
I sit
I sit and watch

in a dark backbar
stinging winter night
dirty dub on the cracked speakers
while guitar techs warm up
whomping, snicker-snack
slithy tones

she’s a superball
room pulsing, to and fro
she ricochets, twirls among
the fit,
the beautiful,
the weak,
ale hits the stale floor

my sixth whiskey
the thinking whiskey
a new realization, at this rate
the main act is running late

my greed is freed
I arise to bloody eyes
stiff leg forward
my last pilgrimage
tippling, toppling

she looms closer
my fears reappear
I brush them back and rush forward for my chance
on the dance floor

blue hair, green hair
pixelated and smeared
she is a trick
she is a trap
she is sweet valencia
her pith, endless summer
I remain, drunk and thirsty

among bootboy warriors,
iron eddies, and punk rudies
she zigs away from the stage
missteps on sticky floor
collides into me

secret knowledge is shared
the essence of something
the briefest of intimacies

I retreat
to the bar
very far from home

the band takes the stage

as sky falls

by Jake Tringali

in the early evening, man finally retires
to turtle houses, retracting into defensive position
bundled, swaddled soft bodies
across from frosted window
and frozen concrete

storms have ebbed and flowed
warnings have come and gone
and man cares no more
the remaining night will end
the end remains nigh

sees this measly civilization
for its falsehood
sleet builds up around each house
each snowflake a death knell
of casual annihilation

from inside structures of folly,
warmth is gently relinquished
from foggy souls with little wonder left
the lights go out
and man falls asleep

the old sadness comes again
the last blizzard ever seen
as sky falls

compromised by light

by Jake Tringali

as an elderly, boozed man rises from the gutter to hobble near the bus stop
the flash of a dusty dick, underneath a black miniskirt, it’s 3 pm and I’m at working in a vest and tie
I cannot go back to Allston, Massachusetts

the visceral rejection of its cracked pizza joints, tattoo parlors, and stale beer bars
no one can take refuge if the sun sets and never rises

pink lights dangle over a three-foot dance floor with tweety girls singing and jumping
in time and off key and bumping into the line to the neon bathroom
who themselves are bumping into the line for the draft

gutterpunks wintering in front of Blanchard’s Liquors, all Toxic Narcotic and fireball whiskey
three-string guitar, too many crusty braids, one bongo drum
souls fired, blazing up

a half dozen patrons mealy mouth but loudly at the pool hall
the wall box jukes thumpin, some silly hipster slumps haltingly to the ground
as the flimsy scorpion plummets inside counterfeit mezcal

just past the streetlights, after practicing the ancient art of truly getting pissed
a long blonde slip slides in her boots while humping a gnarled tree
onlookers gasp in frosted breath, a silhouette, model pirouette

here I once was, face down in the street, living the violence
and my ripped shirt, just there, chest bare, deep in crumbled asphalt
tearing and wearing the closest man in a brawl that started with a leer and one beer

on record, an anal cunt once screamed everyone in allston should be killed
everyone in allston might agree

tits flying, cigarette smoke swirling, at the wreck center
folk metal moshes in the debris, pity whores with their red noses

great scott, there’s the late night hotness
tomorrow’s ripped stockings today, thrashed out

ratty kitchens serve exotic barbecue as all faux cuisine tends toward singular cardboard
collegiate hunger approaches the juvenile midnight

02134, too many whores
the one that hit on me by trying to sell me fuck me boots
or the one that hit on me after leaving a bloodied syringe in the bathroom
or the one that once fucking bit me

most transactions take place on the sidewalk, personal and business
a sordid receipt of sins, rusty blood stains

goddamn last call, night fizzes away and brings vermin out into the inscrutable light
grey becomes black and white, sordid sights desperately trying to continue their night

the zoo animals spill out into the intersection through the crimson light at Packard’s Corner

I cannot go back to Allston, Massachusetts

although when I was young, it had its uses


by Aida Bode

I sent my daughter
to look for my youth
but she came back
with her head low,
and her hands
full with dejection.

The crows had eaten
all the crumbs
I had left behind

and the wind had covered
all my footsteps.

So I sent the leaves,
all the fallen ones
golden with Zeus’ lightning
and brown with
Dionysus’ withered vines

Childhood was there
born of Euridice
alive and well
in Hades’ dwelling.

Twelve breaths

by Aida Bode

The moon got pale,
turned into January

The gods were cold
and tucked inside February

I reached to catch the wind
it gave me March

It started to pour April, moist,
rebellious unstoppable for greenery…

May eavesdropped behind the moon,
safeguarding darkness and all the secrets of silences

Venus was pregnant, she didn’t moan
but smiled and gave birth to June.

July got drunk in Aegean
while I saw the Apocalypse

August sleeps with me
and doesn’t let the stars fall

The geese took September in their beak
and flew toward the South

October held its breath
and the air blushed with autumn

Come Dionysius, come and bring
November so that I can awaken my beloved

Why would Athena need wisdom
when she adorns herself with December?

Shortnin’ Bread

by Mike Jewett

Like a stain.
Like stained glass in a church with a steeple
like see all the people.
Like Mamie Brown
her baby loves shortnin’ shortnin’.
Mamie’s little baby loves
shortnin’ bread.
The ease of putting out an APB for a missing owl
but going through hell to file
a missing person’s report.
The report of a semiautomatic.
The gospel of a G.
Like the gospel of a philosophizer.
Somebody prayed for me.
They had me on their mind.
Took the time and prayed for me,
I’m so glad they prayed,
I’m so glad they prayed,
I’m so glad they prayed for me.
Like nobody prayed for Mugabe.
Like sacred spaces, Atlantic Avenue elevated.
Like BP Deepwater the spill in the Gulf.
The way her breasts feel in your mouth.
Like don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Like plankton fertilization and falling cosmic dust
and falling cosmic karma and kismet.
Like black goldfish swimming inside a brownstone.
Like five dead brothers and daffodils and a Jesus avatar.
A blue and tan Rothko.
A Rothko on fire in an L.A. riot.
Like bombogenesis and its beastly storms.
Like this is the norm.
Like a chimerical bombination in twelve bursts.
Ithery, bithery, sipetty, sap.
Like mieces in a mieces trap.
Like finding a stalk of hay
in a needlestack.
Like hey.
Like Punta Gorda and Kunta Kinte.
Like crab legs in a crab shack jack
set down the settings don’t come back
like fried chicken and watermelon on a helluva day
like every single time you looked the other way.
Like General Gau left behind on your lips.
Like that sweet & sour kung pao shit.
Like Everyday People
like She Keeps Passin’ Me By
like Woah.
Like your got up and went needs to get up and go.