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November 22, 2017 | Poetry

Three Poems

Bryce Berkowitz

Three Poems photo

Waking up

Through the eye of a camera
The cloud cover spreads.
Dumb luck? Doomed future?
Stage 4 cancer from FAFSA…
The frame’s edge:
Foggy. Yes. Morning sex—
Yes. Bagmen from the Bursar
Rapping at what future (?)
Ledgers tucked under their arms.
Fact check. The sun’s flash—
Cue hills. What hills? Fuck the hills…
I’m drunk in your dream again,
Or is that you (?) stumbling
Beneath someone else’s stars?
All of your wants: [omitted details].
All of mine. Whatever. Your hands:
Cicadas screaming beneath the skin.
The soundtrack at sunset goes:
I’m done with pretend.

      
We Have Problems

There’s trouble in paradise:               that naked parrot is squawking
outside my not-so-sunny-disposition again.
And somehow              I’m supposed to get dressed in the morning
when most days arrive           like a gold chain tangled in black chest hair.
I’m spraying cologne on all of my secrets,
knowing damn well                           that I can’t hide from my mother’s voice.
This world is a big green trampoline             made of somebody else’s money
that I’m trying to set on fire            as I bounce up and down
to destroy privilege               and entitlement,                      because I lived in a trailer.
So maybe this is what it means                   to fall in and out of love overnight,
and wake up hungry                           for a cigarette that won’t light itself.
Forgive me for parting the silk robe that covers tomorrow’s lust
and familiarizing myself with other strangers in the room.
It’s easy to forget       how desperate the rest of the world looks
when you get sober,                           but when you drink again
there’s an otherworldly romance that happens           behind the eyes—
right up until the sun wakes you                      and reminds you
that no position in bed,                       no pillow or comforter or fleece or fuckbuddy
can stop the pain                    from whacking your brain with a rubber mallet.
I think about going to rehab,                           but walking through those old doors
is like playing drums with hot-glue and denial.                        Arrivederci, Soul!
I’m sending you on a dive bar tour called                  flirting with stupid,
in hopes that you find my gasoline shadow
in the cobwebbed rafters of old rainbows                  or at the very least
another version of myself at the end of an empty shot glass,
just so I can stare into those big brown eyes once more                   before they close.


The Birthday Gift

You’re engaged
in the my problem with America is…again.

That distract-the-party-with-politics trick
never pairs well with cake.

When the mic drops
humility drips off the tongue
in a long, single strand,
and that’s when a supporter stops you for a favor.

But isn’t that how
being an asshole always works?
From a distance, opinions are provocative, up close
flaccid and off-putting.

Through binoculars the clouds look lovely
until our heroes arrive in two dollar suits.

It’s all Texas sweat under the arms of oil fields
once a former hippie becomes enlightened to a cause.

Wake up, he says. I’m not a drive-thru service.
That’s disappointment
growing a double-chin in your mirror again,

reflecting metaphor again.
Another boy lost to the tight denim
of what rock n’ roll used to be,
standing atop his soap box screaming I know things!

When before becoming a roadie,
he hung out of a drive-thru window
in a stupid paper hat,
shaking his little fist at The Man.
Now, he’s balking at the currency of gratitude,
because that’s the real problem.  

 

image: Tara Wray


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