I uglify myself—make-up, prosthetics,
love handles grown. I wrap a kerchief over
my fringe. I slap my girlfriend. I slap
my son—I slap myself, unhinged, in front
of golden-curtained sliding glass in an empty ranch
where a botanist shot himself. I will sell
this house today. I will clip a rose and shoot
a cop in the front seat of his Buick
in a Florida wood. I will shatter dinner plates.
I will rollerskate to “Don’t Stop Believin’”
in acid wash under disco lights. Disco is the cure
for my agony. I hold on to that feeling.
Giorgio Armani says a well-maintained physique
is a great business card, it’s an antidote
against the passage of time. I have grown
a CGI nose, a belly and I think I love myself.
I can get slim for the gold gown—let the lights
fly, let the clicks click, my name called—
over here, look here, hey. The test can be
bombardment. The test can be abandonment.
For the ordinary, maybe they can experience rhapsodies
without swag bags. You like me. You like me
hawking Boniva. You like me as a squeaky clean
beach teen. You like me holding up
Union. You like me in the cemetery, howling out
“Why?” You like me in my Mary Todd wig
of braided buns. You like me by the pool
in my housegown, legs crossed on the patio chair,
Times spread on stone. You like me alone,
weeping in a shower as my wedding ring slips
down the drain. You like me crying
on the rotary phone, receiving
the worst news. You like the isn’t-what-it-seems.
The more shocking the transformation,
the more daring—the more a child can dream
to one day don a clay pocked forehead
to melt in simulated rain.
featured image by Jim Smith; @jimsmithart
Published as a part of Bolder Writers Warehouse‘s guest curation of Punch Drunk Press.
Jeffery Berg’s poems have appeared in Impossible Archetype, Other People’s Flowers, El Balazo Press, GlitterMOB, the Leveler, Court Green, Rove, Map Literary, Assaracus and Harpur Palate, and No, Dear. He received an MFA from NYU. A Virginia Center of the Creative Arts fellow, Jeffery lives in Jersey City and blogs at jdbrecords.