Ted Jonathan

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more advice to my unborn son
look both ways
before you cross Artwork by Gene McCormick
a one-way street

if a guy you’re
about to fight
a karate stance
he can’t fight

when you wanna
go fast
go slow

if you’re lucky
enough to be a loving
girl’s first boyfriend
do it right 

you don’t
a mirror
to floss
(first realized
the day
before yesterday)

if a neighbor comes 
knocking on your door
to harass 
you about noise you 
don’t consider noise 
beat them down 
with a baseball bat-- 
say they were trying
to push their way in

know the difference between:
maya angelou & meyer lansky
mai lai & michael jackson
your ass & elbow
charlotte rampling & rumpelstiltskin
agent orange & james bond
purple haze woody hayes
& the color purple
lay & lie
ugarte & victor laszlo

cherish the friend
who wishes you well
even when you’re doing
better than them &

don’t be dumb
enough to think
they number more
than one or two

don’t believe
what patti smith says
on page 173 of “just kids”
she knew exactly
who sam shepard was
when she moved on him
at max’s kansas city

if someone’s good to you
be more than that to them

keep a plastic urinal
under your car seat

be very wary
of my trying to
do my life over
through you


Born and raised in the Bronx, Ted Jonathan currently lives in New Jersey. His latest poetry collection Run was published by NYQ Books (2016).