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

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