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  • By John Masella

Nights Are Nothing


Nights Are Nothing Harems of young people scamper along Paths beside the Navigli waterway. Purple and red neon replace blue day, Bouncing chatter supplants early birdsong. Sure, I can take your picture, if you’d like, To capture the joy of an evening out, Mixing with strangers and close friends alike Unconcerned with what to talk about. These moments are personal soldiers, fighting In earnest against black dread in small hours Between companionship’s golden lighting (Which your bursting heart swiftly devours.) My soldiers have grown weak with years, Weathered by deepening dark in age. I’ve known sadness often masked by rage, A cynic’s eyes were a dam for my tears. I remember this when I scoff at youth, And feel anger toward them for their noisiness. They can enjoy the night’s warm untruth As I sit with its brutal emptiness.


Keeping the Joy of You How does one grasp the bright, joyous flashes That wriggle and writhe just out of reach And can only be felt when memory rehashes? Can I take the warmth we made with each Slightly-too-long gaze past curious lashes? You speak, I listen, I learn, you teach. Where does the joy go after we dance In the dim Milan bar till a quarter past three? Is it just a byproduct of circumstance? I tried to lock it in a jar to bring with me. These peaks of connection don’t sell for free; Deep troughs follow transient romance, But it might be worthwhile after all, As in the absence of connection and giving, In the void there lies our downfall. Sweet smiles and looks are for living, And the power of magic is unforgiving And makes me, if but for a day, stand tall.


John Masella is a poet from northern New Jersey. Influenced by the likes of Philip Larkin, John’s work leans on realism and accessible language to explore themes of impermanence, missed opportunity, reflection. You can check out his artwork and poetry on Instagram.

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