Photography © Jennifer Matthews


Emily Dickinson in the Combat Zone, 1970

            Bad smoke suffocates my Spirits –
            Carts of steel spit black air
            Split by slanted light, light outshining
            The Sun and the Moon on every corner
            Though Blankness touch the sky
            And never a Star to see

            Has the Devil swooped over Boston?
            Turned cathedrals to clink and clank?
            Has he removed Compassion?
            Beggars press’d against the bank

            My shawl is pulled around me
            A chill creeps through the air
            I spy a working banshee
            A creep chills by and near

            Decorum turns my head
            This street has numbered ills
            I view the siren’s Red Light
            Above more banshees still

            Will they produce receipts of sins?
            These Devilish women?
            Might I return to my Boston?
            Or does sin exist within?

            A fleeting glance into this ale –
            A future glimpsed;
            To sip the truth of this liquor’d tale –
            A future gasped.

            Drunken ants of no virtue –
            A future earned;
            One swan flies over this toxic brew –
            A future spurned

            A view of hell, the swan arises –
            A future passed;
            The ant’s gamble has certain prizes –
            A future lost

Jake Tringali: Lived up and down the East Coast, and then up and down the West Coast, and now back in his home city of Boston. Runs rad restaurants. Thrives in a habitat of bars, punk rock shows, and a sprinkling of burlesque performers.

Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.