38 Pierrepont

by Kevin Bertolero

I get high and pass the time making names up for myself.
So call me Spike or call me Nick, I swear it’s all the same.
When they put me in the grave, Boy will be my name.
– Boy Goliath, “Boy”

You pay my cover at the house show and we walk through
pink light to the basement steps. We crack Genny Creams
and talk about lonely people, those that we both know.

I like Boy Goliath, his voice, the way he strums in the corner,
sings with eyes closed. I keep my eyes on him and feel
everything— still you don’t seem to notice. He shouts about

GOOD NEWS and HONESTY, but over the feedback, we don’t
hear much from the kitchenette, with ice and tapped keg.
You leave with someone else and I see she’s holding your hand.

When it’s dark, finally, Boy and I go upstairs to see his abandoned work,
A box of audio equipment and his frameless mattress.
I should get out more, he says, but we don’t leave the room.

We talk in close proximity and shower together, holding
hands in the dark so we both remember where we are.
You’ve got to be more careful with your language, I say to him,

or you’ll end up with someone you don’t recognize, don’t you see?
I tell Boy that I wish I were brave, so he provides a demonstration
and when he’s done, I swear it is you holding your breath beside me.

Kevin Bertolero is the founding editor of Ghost City Press. He is a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire and is the author of Soft Boy (GCP, 2017). Kevin’s work has appeared in Maudlin HousePNK PRLTenderness YeaPeach Mag, and elsewhere. He tweets @KevinBertolero.