“I love berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, anything with an ‘errie’ in it!”—Jordin Sparks
Thrillberries are poisonous.
allure could tell you that
but like the shy, buxom brunette
that seems too good to be true
and then, in the end, is
humans often lust and crave
This book is not to be doubted
reads one of the first sentences in The Koran
and yet depending on the translator,
even that beginning is
rich with doubt.
Within life’s bearded tidal
of language, of lordliness—
What’s beautiful and true
rarely rhymes in time
Hickory dickory dock.
Loose lips sink
long lecherous limber
kill kill kill.
Urban alchemy teaches us
that, depending on one’s addictions,
gold reveals itself within many guises,
nearly all of them makeable, instantly ready for purchase.
That there are more African-American males in jail today
than there were slaves in the antebellum American South,
that over 66% of them are incarcerated for the selling of narcotics,
teaches us that midnight in a perfect world
is going to bed late and sleeping poorly,
waking up still tired.
For months on end it’s been evening
all day long;
an entire lifetime spent
learning how to be yourself
and perpetually failing
in ways not even your own.
Nightmares are imaginary but often
steeped in what was once real.
Gold’s gaudy, garish, especially
in the summer,
portentous weight of the heat’s dripping
The hard bright mist of hip-hop sprays
out a million passenger side windows this evening.
On tiptoe, in packs, each car slowly sidles by.
Poem against Adulthood
Raping a slave is easy,
too easy. My job
sucks; yours is worse.
in the same manner as
the sun at night:
grand, idealized notions of what
might have been
if not for such sudden darkness.
I miss recess,
the golden miles between ignorance and regret,
between cargo shorts and collared shirts,
getting up at 6 because you want to
getting up at 6 because—something.
Age’s error is identifiable
not by number
but by sound, sight:
wrangled cracking of an oak
tree’s branches, perpetual,
the moon visibly alive
only at the very beginning
and end of our lives.
dying, I assume, hurts.
I’ll never know.
Food stamp kid
in a food stamp land,
I’m a bicycle accident waiting to happen.
may you stay
it’s the sick jokes that stick.
in the summer breeze,
the world’s beauty is unjust.
Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of the recently published full-length collection THIS LAST TIME WILL BE THE FIRST. Other work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast and Boston Review, among others. The name of Jeff’s dog is Beckett Long Snout. The name of Jeff’s chapbook press is Dikembe Press.