The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Robert Nazarene

School Days, School Days, Good Old Golden...


One day, we had “Give a Hug Day”
which was OK, I guess. But really,
it was pretty fag.

Then, another day, we had “High
Five Day” only there wasn’t even
a game the night before.
That was fucked.

Next time, all the kids voted,
and we had “Hit a Jew Day”.*
The blacks bussed in from the ghetto
stomped kike for real.

Mr. Kopolow, the science teacher,
got cold-cocked by a folding chair.
I kind of liked him so I let him off

easy. Man, the halls, the Girls’
& Boys’ Rooms, the Cafeteria
were all splattered with blood.

A whole bunch of the Jews never
came back, like who cares?
You see, there are some people
who would like to remember—

and some people who would like
to forget. Both kinds of thinking
will take you to the same place.
Some even say: “Never forget!”

Now, that’s a laugh. High Five!
Give me a hug.

*As reported in the October 23, 2008 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch



Robert Nazarene

Birthday Pony


When Mommy promises my birthday present
will be coming in the mail Daddy Steve who
ain't my real daddy laughs and beer squirts out
his nose. I run into the trailer to call Grand-
ma Oot and Steve says, “Not Oot, Stupid, it’s
Ruth. Ruth!

Daddy Steve says Mommy’s a good cook but
we never have no food in the house. For days
I don’t even take my eyes off that mailbox not
for a second.

When our trailer blowed up it throwed me
clear out ornt’a that pile of beer cans Steve
tossed in the yard.                     Just then

the mailman come drivin' down the road
in his old station wagon with the yellow light up
or’n top. I ran the path to the box and asked

“Mailman? Do you got my birthday present?”

He said “I sure do, Donnie, turn around!” And
I watched the flames a-shootin’ up through the
roof it was the biggest best birthday cake I ever



Robert Nazarene

Gold Tooth


Gold Tooth don’t raise pit bulls pit
bulls raise him. Gold Tooth stands
on your front stoop, spitting out
chunks of bone and bile—needing
someone to beat him back to life.
Gold Tooth is a six shooter with a
mouthful of ore, a game of Russian
Roulette—a bullet rolling around
a brain the size of a peanut.
He is not late for Hebrew School.
Some may say: I’ve had enough
of this poem. Gold Tooth
laughs and announces his love
by following anyone
down a blind alley—announces
himself with a pounce. Gold
Tooth wants the sound of Don’t,
a muzzled moan, Gold Tooth
wants a Snickers bar
and a safe zone. Gold Tooth
gonna move into your home.




ROBERT NAZARENE is founding editor of The American Journal of Poetry.



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