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3 Poems || Jeff Alessandrelli


“I love berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, anything with an ‘errie’ in it!”—Jordin Sparks  

 

Thrillberries are poisonous.

 

Gaudy linguistic

 

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

 

after thrill-

 

berries anyway.

 

This book is not to be doubted

 

reads one of the first sentences in The Koran

 

and yet depending on the translator,

 

the translation,

 

even that beginning is

 

rich with doubt.

 

Within life’s bearded tidal

 

trust—

 

of language, of lordliness—

 

inevitably rusts,

 

clots.

 

What’s beautiful and true

 

rarely rhymes in time

 

together.

 

Hickory dickory dock.

 

Loose lips sink

 

long lecherous limber

 

ships.

 

Thrill kills

 

kill kill kill.

 

 

 

August 28th

 

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

licking sun.

 

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.

I’m unemployed

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

 

vs.

 

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,

close, distant,

the moon visibly alive

only at the very beginning

and end of our lives.

Dirt, dirt;

dying, I assume, hurts.

I’ll never know.

Food stamp kid

in a food stamp land,

I’m a bicycle accident waiting to happen.

Forever young,

may you stay

forever—

it’s the sick jokes that stick.

Leaves lisping

in the summer breeze,

the world’s beauty is unjust.

Grow up.

 

 

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.