And a Leopard

This one has a ghost in it
and a leopard
and a couple of skeet shooters
competing for the championship of the universe
– but ironically, in pocket pool.

This one includes two dance numbers
a race sequence
four fight scenes
two independent bursts of song
and a dream sequence in black and white
that subsequently explodes into kaleidoscope.

This one’s got romance and humor and bourgeois rap
and a megagasmic budget
with a cast of thousands
and a special effect or eight.
It’s coming to a theater near you
this Christmas
and it’s precisely as good
as you think it is.

Ask for it by name
or it’s sequel.

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Lonely Months

It was pretty touch and go
for a while, there.
There was a month
I was fairly close to dead,
I was getting out of bed
getting out of the house
but with nowhere to go
no reason to be.

I was a ghost
haunting my own life.
It felt pointless.

It wasn’t even wretched.
It didn’t reach that level of dysfunction.
It was some kind of toxic emasculinity,
I was just wandering through.

I was chameleon-close to the rest of you,
but was something else there,
as I struggled with my zombie-existence.
It was rough.

I wish I could have said something
while the spell was cast.
Maybe I could have gotten some help.
Maybe you could have helped me break it.
But probably it always had to be
something I did on my own.

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A Tree Falls in the Bronx

Outside my window
the single tree on my block
is barely a tree.
A reversed truck has left roots exposed
and now the tree
can be seen struggling to connect
with the earth beneath our feet.

The city’s been told
and, in its infinite bureaucracy,
has done aught to rectify anything.
Days have passed
and the tree, she remains untethered
barely balanced above the dirt
always at risk of falling onto the street
into incoming traffic.

Sometimes I watch
from my window.

I did not see
when someone came with a two by four
to silently prop
the only tree on the street
up from the street
so she would not fall prematurely.
Dead wood was used
to maintain the longevity
of the living thing still left on my block.

I haven’t thanked the soft savior
but I’m glad for her actions
and so, I’m certain,
is that tree.

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For Halloween

For Halloween, I dressed as me:
fearful me
shame-ridden me.
Infinitesimal, irrelevant
and irksome me.

I dressed as myself
in all my grotesque finery
and paraded down avenues
doing my best impression of the character.
I was very convincing;
talking with all the proper scowls
and taking on all the usual ticks.

And no one could tell me from the real thing.
Absolutely everybody down every single street
genuinely believed
that I was really me
and accorded me all the respect
I usually receive.
It was…
quite convincing.

Halloween was enlightening:
to dress in that skin for the night
and see how I really live,
what it was like to truly be me
for a while.
It was good.
I enjoyed the visit into myself
but when it was time to go home,
I disrobed
took off the costume
and decided that finally
after this experiment,
it was time to become something else.

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Girly Girl

You look like someone
once familiar.
Perhaps you were once Raped Girl
with a haunted look in your eye
and sense of prey about you
every day?

Were you Nervous Girl
with a hand on your hair
constantly twirling
laughing at too many little things
too many times
and kinetically connecting with all corners of the room
all at once?

Maybe you were Gone Girl
who leaves in a jumping jack flash
every time things get serious
or Generous Girl
buying drinks when times are tight.
You never bought me a pony, though,
did you…
But that wasn’t you, was it?
Moving on.

Could you have been Goth Girl?
Girly Girl?
God Girl?
Moody Girl?
Riot Grrl?
Smart Girl?
Smartass Girl?
Smarmy Girl?
No, no, no
and no some more?

Are there any categories you could possibly fit into
that I haven’t identified yet?
Where have I seen your sort before
or is it possible
that I have never in my life
experienced anyone before

like you?

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Four Arms

When you asked me to buy that ice cream cone
I didn’t know.

I didn’t understand the significance of any of it
not the truck
not the flavor
not the timing.

I didn’t realize what you really wanted
or what I really wanted
or what ice cream meant to you
or the kids
and what it would spell out down the line.
But then,
I’m not sure any of us did.

If I had understood better,
I may have done exactly the same things
but at least
wouldn’t have been so damned torn up about it.

I’m glad Joey’s not as allergic to pecans as you thought
and I really hope
you let me see him
when I get out.
If I get out.

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Kirsten 3

Yes, ma’am.
I suppose it was impertinent of me
to think you might still
be paying attention to my comings
and goings-on all these years later.
I guess I had assumed it was mutual
but clearly you’ve moved on.

No, ma’am.
Clearly, you have better things to do
than follow up
on any message
some old acquaintance you’d forgot,
ten years out of mind,
might send you.

Of course, ma’am.
It was really rude to come here
in the middle of the night
to deliver this note
– this brick with a note attached –
and imagine I would get any reaction
different from this.

Yes, officer.
I think my apology is close to complete.

Thank you, ma’am,
for dropping most of the charges,
and reminding me that not all Kirstens
are created equal.

All this time,
and your name was Christine?

Well, then.
Thank you
very much
for your time tonight,

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Kirsten 2

Dear K,

In the recent poem I have yet to write,the Kirsten repeatedly referred to
in terms that could be considered
at best, unflattering
and at worst, illegal

shares certain characteristics with you.

She has your name.
She is a woman.

That is it.

I wanted to make this point quite clear
in advance
so that
when we get into our latest imbroglio
we will at least know
up front
the terms:
you mistook yourself
in the poem I wrote about another Kirsten
and got all hypersensitive
because that’s what you’re like, Kirsten.
and judgemental
and really mean.

In any case
I hope this finds you well
and that we can avoid any unpleasantness
regarding the poem
I have yet to write
regarding the coincidental individual
who has your name
and no other characteristics
in common with you
at all.


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Yet Another Introduction

This is ridiculous.
This is a travesty.
is quite unfair.

There is no justice in this world
if we allow a situation like this to pass
for another white man
to succeed
in the face of so many other qualified candidates
of other ilks.
Why should we ever countenance
another old white man
under these circumstances?

Never again.

There have been hundreds of years of white men
up front
center stage
so why should it continue
for a single instant longer?


Ladies and gentlemen:
Jonathan Berger.

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Sufferings Untold

You don’t want to hear it,
believe me,
but if you’re sure…
Be warned, though,
that some things,
they’ll just fill you with regret.

Their metabolisms were different
so one was huge
and the other was really thin.
Those two were in love
so I guess their shapes complemented each other?
But they were both named Arthur
so though it wasn’t hard to tell them apart
it was hard to call them apart.

But it gets ugly.
They were into BDSM
with the slim one playing the masochist
and the enormous one all dominant.

It never was supposed to get out of hand.
They had safe words
and we’re careful about their forms of play
these two Arthurs
and their games sometimes had an air of danger
that freaked out their straighter friends.

But eventually, because he was the dom
and the other was small,
the big guy,
he became known as
The Master of Fine Art.

I SAID that you’d regret this.

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