Matthew A. Toll

another poem about the kids in this classand I’m starting to sound bitterbut this might be the only REAL thing you read all year and the dog prances upstairs for ten hours holding her shit inwhile the landlord’s gone to the bar from this house being foreclosed on,as I sweat cheap whiskey downstairs and write poems in lowercase—after work—becauseit takesless effort to write in lowercase; for fuck’s sake I push it enough.and the “I” is only uppercasebecause the computer makes me go back and change it down whether or notI want to be a grown up letteror a child. andthe kids in this class all think my poems “mean something”other than they actually do.when, actually,they’re all true—and toned down—I guarantee you (as hard as that might beto believe).they mean only what you read. only what you read,and not what you hear. only what you READand I don’t have the performance to back it up. this scar wont last;it just looks like it will. but I’ll consider shedding a tear for you regardless;I hear it’s good for me. though I do NOT believe it. I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU. the neighborhood,winooski, vermont “the neighborhood’s going to shit,” they say. because the Sudanese and some Indians (from India) andthe Vietnameseare moving in. and it’s finally somewhere I can live,the world and the people (the real people) in it, for some inexplicable reason,treat me well.butthese guys,they think it’s turning to shit because those around us don’t look like us. goodthat they don’t look like us. these guys are ugly. the new neighborhood is beautiful. just beautiful. the waves will probably send you overboard and we’ll all probably shrug so how do you tell it not as a sob story?because sympathy is so unbelievably uselessalmost like a bad joke;but life could be a joke, is a sob story, is (at times, even), how do you tell it?because we’ve all lost.because we’ve all loved.because we’ve all had a fucked up meal like grape enchiladas and thought it meantsomething,or,no meal at all, andit meant something.or we’re extraordinarily alone hereor...... Matthew A. Toll currently lives in Burlington, Vermont (after some time bouncing around) where he hides out in a kitchen for a living and writes a lot, among other things. He’s had poems published in print in Big Muddy, online in Industry Night, Walking Is Still Honest, The Vehicle, GravelMag, Five2One and elsewhere. Say hello: