Pecking Order

Back in college
– so just a few years ago –
I was part of a committee
where the leader asked for volunteers
to shuttle people into town.
One girl
proudly raised her hand.

"I would,"she said,
"but I don’t know how to drive."

A hush fell over the room
as we all sat
stunned and sad
that we would never
ever see those three seconds
so completely wasted
return to us.

"Thanks," the leader said
moving on to actually useful topics.
I couldn’t ever look
at that functionally retarded girl
without utter disdain

She’s a VP now
for a respected corporation
and I
am very
very tired.

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Great Aunt

Because Great Aunt Gertrude
(on my father’s side)
has finally expressed interest
in my art
I have given her the link
to my website
(you know the one:
jonberger dot com
"available for all your poetical needs"?).

So now
I have to spend the next few days
scouring the site
for any profanity
or views she might disagree with
or admissions of acts
of which she might disapprove.

I don’t want to get on Gertrude’s bad side
and it is so much bigger
than her other side,
and so much easier
to get on it
(I’m saying she’s fat).

I’ve use a variety of search and replace functions
but that’s changed the meaning
of some of my work, like
a line about waking up in the morning
now reads
"The penis crows
and I get up
ready to go to town."
So this issue
is now compounded
but I figure
with a few more hours hunting
I’ll be able to scratch out any aberrant material
among the one thousand, seven hundred
and ninety three posts I’ve published
all to please my Great Aunt Gertrude.
My fat, reactionary,
racist and cruel
Great Aunt Gertrude.

Did I mention she’s rich?

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The Children of Corn Circle

They refuse to share
even when a solution
to satisfy both
is so purely clear.

If he hands her the device
before entering After School
then she can get her alotted screen time
at a point when the noise won’t disturb him

but he can’t stand that somebody else
would be touching his stuff
so they fight over their time
with the limited resource
thus losing that time
and everyone is miserable.

I could solve the issue
by buying another device
but how else
will they learn about citizenship?

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Final Notice

When you wrote
that this was my final notice
I was giddy with relief.

At last you would be done
with your asinine memos
to my account
claiming to offer me a service
that I requested, but
come on, really?

I would be done with you
and I’d never have to read
your stupid name again.

it was not to be.
The final notice
might have have only been
the last of the day
– and even of that,
I am unsure.
To this day,
I am haunted by you still.

I could just unsubscribe
I suppose
but then what would greet me
when I open my mail?

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Lesson Learned

He tried to teach me the culture
but I was never much of a student
(unless I cared for the subject)
so he found subjects within the culture
that I might care about.

There was a book of humorous stories
that I pored over
week after week, studying,
struggling to understand references
restating the jokes
with broken delivery.

Most of the stories told of isolation
and ghettofication
and identification as the other.
The stories had clever protagonists
and learned wise men
and generally smarter-than-thou points of view.
It was in this way
that I learn to be a Jew.

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AB Neg

Why do you approach
so tentatively,
crouched in pose,
eyes lowered?
I get that you’re nervous around me.
I don’t blame you:
If I were you,
I’d be nervous around me, too.

But I’m not really THAT big a deal.
I put my pants on one leg at a time
just like every other megasuperstar.
When you prick me,
do I not bleed AB Negative,
the very rarest blood type?

When you tickle me,
do I not shoot milk from my nose?

Look, if you
simply acclimate yourself
to my presence,
this will all get easier.
Just take it easy
and become more familiar
with my arcane ways.

And before you come across it
in the wild, know this:
mine is a purple penis,
angry, engorged,
early to arrive
and quick to come.
Just in case
you happen to witness
that kind of thing
in the future.

Well, anyway,
the future is overrated.

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Across 149th Street

The two guys
chasing the one guy
down the avenue
don’t seem to be trying very hard.

They tire
halfway down the block
and let him make his getaway.

Whatever it is
the one guy took
wasn’t visible
and couldn’t be that valuable.
Anyway, clearly,
he wanted it more.

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Your Body Is A

I’ve seen you from a distance
and I’ve seen you closer up
and I can say with great assurance
on your nectar I would sup.

I’d love to take some time with you
but unfriendly are the fates.
You’ve made it hard to get to you
and enjoy your many traits.

I would wait in line for days
for just a chance with you.
Pay a fine or drop a dime
are other things I’d do.

Your body is a roller coaster
I hope very much to ride.
You’re an A ticket haunted house
I want to get inside.

I hate how on the weekends
you’re surrounded by those kids
who restrict my chance to reach the top
and exercise our ids.

Perhaps a day will come (and soon!)
I’ll get to pay the price
to experience you leisurely.
God! That would be nice.

Until that day I’ll fantasize
about some future time
when we’ll reach peaks together
on that crazy uphill climb.

Your body is exquisite
with curves and twists and turns
and I can’t wait to thrill with it.
Your love I’d love to earn.

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Ye Three

Oh my god.
Looking at you three
it is impossible to tell
which of you’s the hot one
and which of you’s the dog.

There’s always one, right?
It’s impossible
for all the ladies in your posse
to be equally pretty.
What are the odds
that the gods rated you three
so perfectly?

So by the sour look on your face,
I’m beginning to assess
your position in the crew.
But who of you two
takes the pole position?
Who here is Number One?

Let’s see: the one who walked away
has an excellent sashay
but is that enough to compensate
for her refusing to play?

I’d say it is.
With only one girl left in front of me
it makes it easy to congratulate you
on beating out the other two
to be the hottest in your crew.
With that in mind,
what can we do?
Is there a chance that –
Oh. We’re through.

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I just had to reject an idol of mine.
It wasn’t easy.
It wasn’t pretty.
I had to get on the horn and say
“Bruce, I’m sorry
but I just can’t do it.”
He wasn’t pleased
of course
but I had other things to do
for the day.

I have to admit
it was pretty empowering
to have to look right into the phone
and explain to this boss of men
that I couldn’t accommodate his request.
For a moment
I guess I was kind of his boss.

I’m sure he’ll get over it
but it might be the first time
in some time
that he has not been prioritized.
They can’t all be glory days, I guess.

I better call him back
and tell him I was joking
that I’ll be happy to prune his onions
whatever that may mean.

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