Joey Nicoletti


When I was a child, Mama and her best friend Joy, who had impossibly long, curly strawberry
blond hair and lustrous light blue eyes, took turns smoking a tiny cigarette. Joy declared it a
roach. We all shared a silver bag of spicy potato chips splayed open as Earth, Wind, and Fire’s
song, September bubbled up over us from beautiful Cherrywood speakers.


Mama, an Italian immigrant who gave birth to me in her teens, cranked up her aquamarine Cutlass
Supreme radio’s volume when she heard Madonna sing, “You’ll do much better, baby, on your
own.” I did little else but cry and watch music videos on MTV when my father left home.

Joey Nicoletti is the author of 9 poetry collections, including Reverse Graffiti (Bordighera, 2015) and Fan Mail (Broadstone, 2021), his most recent book. He teaches writing at SUNY Buffalo State and is on Twitter @JoeyNicoletti.