This is the Rad One

When the days are warm,
inviting, promising some secret intimacy
like sun-kissed hair
or freshly tanned skin…

When the world seems to cry
with premature hope
offering future opportunities you had forgotten about entirely…

When life is suddenly teeming
and flora and fauna burst from surprised seams
bleeding out and infecting the planet
with their glory…

When transition is pregnant
in every heavy breath you breathe…
then that is some fucking great Indian Summer, then,
isn’t it?

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This is the Trad One

Roses are red
I don’t love you.
But don’t be blue;
the reverse is true, too.

When in June
we nudely spoon
on one side
we always moon.

Mainly, planes
require emptied containers
but maintained: most trains
sustain liquid remains.

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This is the Ad One

The following poem is brought to you by Jon Berger,
the maker of such seminal works as “Seminal Work,”
“The Healing Power of Bacon,”
“My Sister’s a Slut”
and “Booby Prize,”
which was all about touching boobies.

This prolific creator has branched out into recordings
producing important albums like
AntiFunk masterpiece Kinesis
and experimental atmo-rock juggernaut Grey Revelations
which went paperclip on bandcamp
selling at least three downloads.

He hosts shows.
He graces open mics with his presence.
He plays games on his phone
at the back of small clubs during your shows.
He heckles like nobody’s business
– which it, in fact,

Jon Berger
AKA the editor of AntiMatters, Revolutionary Whimperings, and Urban Folk AKA the leader of JUANBURGUESA, King of the Scene
AKA DJ JB, the AP of AF
AKA Jonathan Berger
is the man behind this poem.

Jon Berger.
Ask for him by name.

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This is the Lad One

Now that the shaking has slowed
and the sobbing has stopped
I am relieved to see she has gained a semblance of control. This has been an emotional evening for us
as she shares secrets,
thoughts she might not have even known
until she weakly whispered them.

I hug her.
I hold her.
I tell her everything will be all right
and stroke her hair
and tell her I will never do anything to hurt her
like the other boys
the ones she talks about
that elicits such cries in the night.

It is true;
I will be good
and kind.
I will be there for her
and be strong for her
and will not take advantage
of this sweet, damaged creature
until after curfew.

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This is the Fad One

You’ll be over this one day.
You’ll look back on these things you’re saying now
and feel, at best,
mildly embarrassed
and, at worst,
completely horrified
at the songs you’re singing,
the positions you support,
the face you currently wear.

You will think of today
and wonder what was going through your head
and wish your friends had suggested
you should know better
when, in fact,
everyone had told you
almost every day
that you should know better.
I am telling you that right now
but you won’t remember.

You’ll be ashamed
a little
about the person you are now
but pretty quickly you’ll shrug it off
and move on with your life
because it wasn’t so bad, right?
You got through those awkward years
and anything that doesn’t kill you
makes you stronger, doesn’t it?

That’s what you’ll say one day
if you can.

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This is the Grad One

We rang the bell at my school
to commemorate collegiate success,
so after I tugged the cables
and heard the sweet ringing sound
representing eight semesters
of carefully completed curricula,
I wore some champagne,
drank some sloe gin,
and felt fulfilled,

I had done it.
I had a degree.
I had become a grown-ass man.

The next day
I loaded possessions into the car
with my mommy and daddy
and drove back home.
I took the same job I had
last year as a college student
and made the same money
and lived the same life
but this time,
with a diploma
available on request.

I hung with high school friends.
I drank legally.
I biked around the city
and got my driver’s license
and read the comics
my mother had collected
since I’d last been home.

It was a good life
but eventually,
all young men must mature
and take responsibility
and grow, and so,
in the Fall,
come the new school year,
I moved back up to my college town
to hang with my friends.

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This is the Plaid One

That fluffy ruffled skirt
swaying with every step
safety-pinned beyond recognition,
she signifies as a catholic girl gone bad
but in fishnets and leather,
Marten’s below
Pistols above.

She is the perfect picture
of punk post-pubescence
and effective affected rebellion.
I am in love

but she would loathe
a straight-laced geezer like me.

If only I could seem
as she does.
If only I could show
that I, too,

am revolting.

If only I were forty years younger
or she forty percent drunker
or the world forty percent more fictional.
Forty percent would do it, though,
of that I’m certain.

Maybe forty eight.

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This is the Dad One

Flashes from smaller years:
He dives into rocks
yielding a bloody nose
exploding out onto the sand.

He gulps out drunken ugly tears,
glistening shards still in hand
from the bottle shattered hours before.
Red, again, everywhere.

An unseen dog behind him
leaves him broken-legged.
He hobbles, becrutched,
for an entire awkward summer.

He snores, unable to be woken
despite my mother’s best efforts
until he finally shoots up
shocked as we surround his chair
where sleep was so anxiously disturbed.

He cannot cross the street.
He is overheated, sweaty,
breathing is ragged.
Standing upright proves difficult.
An ambulance takes us all blocks
to a hospital
for a fevered few hours.

All of these
he survives
and others I’ve forgotten
or have never known.
He proves hardy in his frailty
and surprises us all
with relative ruggedness
for longer than ever expected.

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This is the Bad One

The anchovie pizza is salty;
salty like the Baltic,
like the Dead Sea,
like a dead Sikh,
too late fled from Sodom
and/or Gomorrah,
and caught
then kept around
until modern times
to be a salt lick
that I do not,
in any way,

The anchovie pizza
arrived far after
my interest in anchovies had passed.
Had the delivery come promptly,
I’d have enjoyed the pie
lacking any post-conceptions
but as it stands,
I am left with this circle of regret
that I will certainly not finish tonight,
not while it’s warm.

The anchovie pizza
is soggy
and cold
and salty
and I wish I had purchased something
more pleasing
and now
I have nothing but discontent
and a side order of disco fries.

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This is the Mad One

If I were to meet any of Batman’s rogue’s gallery,
I think I’d like it to be the Mad Hatter.
He can tell people what to do,
but he’s crazy,
so I get the sense
I could convince him
to use his powers for good,
by which I mean
helping me out.

If I were to meet any of Superman’s opponents,
I would like it to be Bizarro.
He’s so powerful
but pretty good-hearted
and maybe he’d take me for a flight somewhere
before accidentally squeezing me too hard
and making me into a diamond.

If I were to meet any of Wonder Woman’s enemies,
I think it should be the Cheetah
because she’s a giant sexy cat
who’d scratch my back
and also
she might be able to introduce me to Wonder Woman.

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