Twelve Angles on Amway

Goosebumps and held-back tears
when “Eye of the Tiger” booms
between each Amway speaker.


“Stop letting past failures stop you,”
says the Emerald Ambot, the synth
opening on Survivor’s “Moment of Truth.”


Amway cassettes and VHSs horded
in boxes for years, the guilt pitches
concerning their power still at work.


“Success isn’t owned, it’s rented,”
says the Diamond Ambot, the drums
opening on Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out.”


Encouraged by your Ambot superior
to skip a mortgage payment
to attend an Amway function.


Self-betterment, dream therapy, séances, Amway seminars.

On screen at the Amway convention
mansions and jet skis are montaged
to Calloway’s “I Wanna be Rich.”


“Don’t make excuses, make results,”
says the Double Diamond Ambot, the guitar
opening on Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best.”


Getting on your feet and clapping
when Gloria Estefan’s “Get on your Feet”
plays at the Amway seminar,


“An arrow is shot only by pulling it back,”
says the Triple Diamond Ambot, the horns
opening on Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now.”


“Work for your dream, not someone else’s”
says the Crown Ambot, the chorus
opening on Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling.”


“You gotta spend money to make money,”
says your Amway upline, his car stereo
bumping Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”


Photography © Jennifer Matthews


M.A. Istvan Jr., although a professor of Philosophy, actually makes most of his money now as a method translator of AAVE. In light of his extreme efforts to ensure sincere and emotionally expressive translation, Jet Magazine has dubbed him the Daniel-Day-Lewis of AAVE translation. For instance, he might sip Tempranillo from a Burgundy glass when translating to Standard English and swig Boone’s Farms from a brown-bagged bottle when translating the other way.

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.