Ted Jonathan

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Elementary School

Squat & curl up
under desk should Artwork by Gene McCormick
the commies come 
dropping bombs.

Men with cool
names like Vasco
De Gama were first
to sail straight to
India, and Ponce
De Leon, looking
for the fountain
of youth, was first
to set foot in Florida.

Johnny B. would
show off chomping
down chalk, Louis
could be tricked
into drinking piss.

We could watch
my Jew, Jack Ruby
shoot to death
the 3 named goon
who shot to death
our golden President
on live television

Boys in size-place
order, meant me
wanting to be taller.

When the father
of our country was
a boy he couldn’t tell
a lie, and confessed
to chopping down
a cherry tree. 

We warred against
the people of North
Vietnam on account
of a Domino Theory.

Mondays meant
white shirts & green
ties to assembly,
all of us singing
of stout hearted
men, who’d stand
shoulder to shoulder
& fight to the end . . .

It was cooler to like
The Byrds, dumb
“Mr. Tambourine Man,”
than Barbara Mason’s
heady & soulful
“Yes, I’m Ready.”

Plotnik could be hung
by his collar on a hook
and left there all day
in a closed closet.

Everyone had a right
to their own opinion.
And everyone had one.


Kill 2                                                                

The music video. I don't care
who directs it. Although I know Artwork by Gene McCormick
it's not Kubrick.  

The hoarder who lives below me,
before he kills me with his stench
arsenal of mothballs and decay.

Those who'd privatize social security.
Their families. Harvest all organs.
Piss on their bones.

That fat-ass plaque in Yankee Stadium's
monument park, dedicated to the team's
late swinish owner, Steinbrenner.

Those who try to sell us Mariah Carey
and Maggie Gyllenhaal as foxes. Or as
you might say, "hotties." But I won't.

Corporate interests & pedophiles.
Former first. If it's good for them--
it's bad for you. Real bad.

Any past or present reference 
to Madonna as a diva.

The price-gouge cost
of generic stool softener
at the Good Neighbor Pharmacy
in Guttenberg, New Jersey.

The willfully ignorant.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Turn it into a bingo parlor, a whore-
house, or a lottery superstore.

Any poet who, when giving a reading,
asks if he has time for one more.
Less is more. More or less.

Anyone who doesn't inherently
get the difference between
earning money and making it.

Anyone with perfect bleached white teeth
and tattoos. Unless they sport a facial tattoo.

Socialized medicine for elected officials.


The clueless who say, What doesn't
kill you makes you stronger.

Your right to use plastic
to buy a frappuccino.

Those who know me
but don’t buy my books.

Vanity plates.
Except for:
Kvech22 &


Ted Jonathan is a poet and short story writer. Born and raised in the Bronx, he now lives in New Jersey. His work has appeared in many magazines. Translations of his poetry have appeared in Russian magazines. His first collection Spiked Libido was published by Neukeia Press. Bones & Jokes, his most recent full-length collection of poems and short stories, has been published by NYQ Books (2009).