“Maybe Not”

Generations ago
she said yes to him.
I hope she’d say no, but
she said yes to him.
Their love seemed so pure
when she said yes to him
that I had to demure
since she said yes to him.

She said yes to him
and I was fading fast.
She said yes to him
but then it couldn’t last.
She said yes to him
and lived well at the start
when she said yes to him
but then they grew apart.

She said yes
but then she said no.
They had a great start
but then had to go.
When I first looked at them,
I told everyone so,
“After seven plus years,
they’ll lose that glow.”

She said yes to him
but then they went and split.
She said yes to him
after he’s gone and done it.
She said yes to him
but now he must atone
cuz she’s said no to him
and said to leave her alone.

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Ramon S.

I got twenty four hours before the sedation.
(I don’t want it. I don’t want it.)
There’s no one to contact. All of my relations
called to commit. Called to commit.
I wanna get away. Gotta get away.
I need to head down to the beach!

I have twenty hours left until the trepanning
(they’re gonna drill it. They’re gonna drill it!)
and all I wanna do is run away for suntanning.
(Just let ’em grill it. Just let ’em grill it.)
If I climb out the window and head for the door
I can hitch a train down to the beach!

And then I’ll have eighteen hours ’til the extirpation
(with all the cuttin’, god! all the cuttin’)
unless someone in the family has some revelation
(but they believe in nuttin’. They believe in nuttin’.)
Nothing to hope for; no reason to stay. Only thing to do is reach for the beach and preach to each and every peach on the beach to beseech for my freedom…

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My Worth

I’ve learned of your knowledge and wisdom, which your corrections so frequently show
They present some form of your interest, by sharing all that you know.
But it’s obviously only a semblance of caring, because of all of the ways
that you find faults in multitudes of matters over months, over weeks, over days.

I wish that you could love me for the semblance of human I am
but I understand how just that thing is quite an unreasonable plan;
just as you cannot judge the book before it’s removed from the shelf,
how can you possibly love me, if I cannot yet love myself?

You don’t know my worth
because I don’t know my worth
but I’m heading for rebirth any day now.
A renaissance soon heads my way,
as I mentioned, any day,
I feel it coming, come what may;
I don’t know how.

Oh, lord! I can feel it coming tonight. I feel I’ve been waiting a while.
It’s thick in the air. It’s everywhere, a sense of return from exile.
Thank you for trying to fix me, by presenting my faults with such wit.
It shows, I suppose, your belief that I could be more of a “he” than an “it.”

Or maybe you just felt it better that people be kept in their place.
I’m not sure that it matters, for soon, I can hope for a taste
of a better life than this one. Where I can live with the rest
of the folks in the world – like you – who will strive for their very best.

You don’t see my worth
because I don’t see my worth
but soon the breadth and girth of my value
is something we’ll both recognize.
And my worth’s Goliath size
will be such a precious prize
to hold onto.

It’s not your fault. I’ve set it up. I’ve been this way for years.
Allowing you and everyone else to exploit all my fears.
If I’d looked inside, or gotten self-help, or been to the wizard – or read,
I might have resolved this decades back – or, chances good, been dead.

But as it stands, I’m certain, change is gonna come,
and sure as hell, I mean it, well, my downward days are done.
I’m coming up, like a flower, and I want the world to know:
this is the very last night that I am eating crow.

You don’t recognize my worth
since all I speak of is its dearth
but if my last act on this Earth is to transform,
then you will see a chang-ed man;
I’ll become something else again
and as far as the horizon’s span
we’ll see a new norm.

You don’t know my worth
since I ain’t found my worth
but bet, I will unearth it any moment
At some point I will be
deserving, eventually,
of glory, and worthy
of that bestowment.

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The Stairs

The end bell rings, and school is dismissed
but to rush home quick is a thing I’d resist.
The walk back is quiet, which makes all the sense
as my only companion is silence.
For me, Three o’clock came quickly enough
but it’s clear that the rest of today will be rough.
The hours still left in the day may be long
as I wonder how everything right went so wrong.

Those tall stairs rise so high.
From here, they all but blot out the sky.
Well, of course they do; I’m here inside
but in these stark halls, there is no place to hide.

I’ll offer some story so cleverly spun
that tells inexactly what wasn’t quite done
and doctors the truth just enough so, perhaps,
when they hear it, my ass won’t be beaten to craps.
If I hold my nerve and the narrative’s controlled,
the weak won’t win. Fortune favors the bold.
“I can explain,” surely, I can exclaim
but after, will they ever see me the same?

As I climb these stairs,
my calves and thighs in their pairs
all feel incredibly, shakily impaired
as I prepare to enter the dreaded lion’s lair.

The news that I carry is scary, it’s true.
This package, rather un-delivered, is due.
If there’s something I could occupy, and then rue,
it’s that not to have to tell this thing to those two.

But those goddamned stairs look so big.
When I left they were hardly so ig-
nominiously large.
This morning I practically barged
out the door charging to school
now I feel like a fool
coming home with this shame
upon my home’s name
soon the family will know
what I did at the show
when we went on the bus
and I started to cuss
and the teacher got mad
because I’d been bad
and goddamn I’m so sad…
my dad will not be glad

and these stairs
are so
high.

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Joan of Acre

It is said
that fifty years after her death
her daughter dis-entombed Joan
and found her in good shape.

The church says
that means you’re touched by god.

It also means
you’re touched by your daughter
since Elizabeth said
her mother’s breasts sprung up again
after being pressed.

Why was her daughter checking her mom out?
Why did she wait so long to do it?
Is this a Catholic thing?

It wasn’t enough to canonize
Joan of Acre
even though
her name sounds a little bit
like somebody else’s.

If
I am ever buried
and get disinterred
so my body can be savaged and humiliated
let me just say
you can start much sooner.
Now, even.

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Happy Birthday, Valerie

I remember her well, from when I was young.
I loved her so strongly, from toes up to tongue
and then up to hair, and back down to her lungs.
There wasn’t a part unadored or unsung.

This girl was my first, but she didn’t care.
In fact, you would think that she wasn’t aware.
Yeah, she wasn’t aware, you could say, if you dare.
It was like she’d not see me, if I was right there.

Valerie never took to my flattery.
Fact is, she never knew me.
She never even knew me.
But Valerie, if you ever hear word of me
and seek something Jon Bergery,
here’s where you can find me:
right here. Right here. Right here…

I would have said something, had I but the chance
to prance in her presence and ask her to dance
or to chase her quite chastely and make wild romance.
But I never got near her. I kept wide dis-tance.

She lived in the West while I lived in the East.
She was worldwide. I was not, say the least.
Though in thinking of her, I have never quite ceased,
I eventually saw our love ’twas not to be-est.

So though, Valerie, my lovely Ms. Bertinelli,
if you ever find yourself near me,
it’s OK to call on me.
Just call on me.
Valerie, if you come to NYC
and you want something new to see,
I will do it with glee.

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Four Twenty Two

Huh.
Andrew Gold wrote the theme to the Golden Girls.
But he wasn’t a girl
so I don’t know how that worked out.
Maybe he bribed someone
with gold?

Michael Jackson called himself the King of Pop
and he married Lisa Marie Presley
daughter of the King of Rock and Roll
but they didn’t get Madonna to officiate or anything
The Church didn’t play.
Prince has a song called “Pope”
but I don’t think that’s relevant at all.

Some thoughts I thought on Four Twenty
but didn’t put down until Four Twenty Two
when I wasn’t so high from getting down to the Stones
and thinking ’bout you.

Speaking of Prince,
I don’t believe he ever played with Queen
or Duke Ellington
or Count Basie
but I’m pretty sure he jammed on “Louie Louie.”
Y’know? By the Kingsmen?

Mark Millar wrote the comic Kingsmen.
He’s no relation to comic writer Frank Millar
who is no relation to comic aficionado Frank Black
who is no relation to Jack Black
who is no relation to Jack White
who was no relation to Meg White
– despite what they originally said.

I’ve got a pretty good bootleg
of the White Stripes playing
“Thank You For Being a Friend,”
if you want to hear.

Some random things I’ve been thinking
since you walked away.
Then been on my mind for a bit
though I only wrote them down today.

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411’s a Joke

Four one one’s a joke in my town.
It offer’s me no ways to run around.
Teaches me not to swim, fly, or race on ground.
If it’s good, I’ll be tied, and bound.

Four one one is a miserable mess.
There’s better ways to get info. Confess
that you search elsewhere to find an address
or the locale of the latest protest.

If you wanted to find information,
would you call up your local four one one?
Hell no! Nor would anyone
since it’s a grandma-fammin’ joke, there, son!

I’ll never use that telephony service!
If I ever felt the need: Lord preserve us!
I’d be in desperate straits, so be nervous
about the fate of what we learned and the disservice

since I’m suggesting that what you’ll hear is useless
because the operators they have are toothless.
And if you think that my critique right here is ruthless
then you have never heard their answers – such a nuisance.

I’ll repeat: Four one one is a joke, y’all.
You will never be wiser after a call.
Want information? You’re heading for a fall, y’all.
You might as well throw you phone against a wall.

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Personal Statement

An attempt at an answer to “Please use no more than 150 words to explain what makes you special” in a job application.” I showed it to my mother. She didn’t get it.

For the last twelve weeks, off of Bruckner Boulevard, I’ve been taking this course, which, while ridiculously hard, has been making me feel somehow self-improved. It is in this very spirit in which I’ve been found moved to be inspired to apply to enter this position (to express appreciation).

Now I offer exposition of ability in which I might perhaps be found unique – a task that seems daunting. With millions, so to speak, out there hoping to be hired, what could make one stand apart? Should I describe performances in which I bear my heart, or outline presentations led on a weekly basis? I host an open mic in the East Village: an oasis for the people who have joined in the community. My role as the MC is a pleasure and a duty. Perhaps, then, successfully I’ve detailed in time a sense of my identity over course of rhyme.

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Admissions Payment

Being common concerns me.
It’s not what I prefer
and if the other option
is to be thought a cur
I think that is my preference.

At least I’d be unique.
So if there’s something bad to say,
perhaps I’ll choose to speak
that selected phrase
and bear resulting shame.

Sometimes that is the only way
to ever win the game
of notoriety
or celebrity
or animosity
or the ridiculosity of seeking to be recognized
by shape or face or name.

If I must be hated?
At least then I’d be rated.
It’s the fated price
I’ll pay for fame.

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