1 by jeffery berg
Station wagon washing in the gravel driveway Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step”
boomboxed. Rainbows in bubbles barefoot red bandana rolled tied tight around my
white blond fringe tie dye T bright yellow shorts imprinted with untied cartoon high tops.
A girl troupe I want to be in at YMCA summer camp in perms purple short shorts neon
green tank tops swerving across the gymnasium to Prince’s “Batdance,” form into a
straight line with heads unison-snapping front-to-side (Vickie Vale / Vickie Vale).
Field trip to Duke Power plant. Towering white reactors spindly spiral staircases free
Duke Power plant stickers with blue smiley faces. I flinch at the battery smell of the
plant’s basement where we sit unwrap our sandwiches Fruit Rollups.
TV spot for The Fly II: Hush little baby don’t be sad / you’ll grow up to be like Dad / Hush
little baby don’t you cry / just because your dad was The Fly.
Annette Funicello perky red dress white polka dotted frolics in the sand in Back to the
Beach with Fishbone to “Jamacia Ska.” Behind her hopping swaying surfers neon-
suited beach tarts with noses of Zinc.
Hair hair everywhere a capful of golden V05 to wash it up with.
Blue t-shirted, black panty-hosed Elisabeth Shue in Adventures in Babysitting shakes
her curls prances across her room to The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me” using bedpost
as mic swooping a spritz of perfume across her.
I dip my head sideways in the Y pool snap it back out so my hair forms a perfect
sideways swoop: bangs in a wave. The lifeguard pimply blasts Def Leppard and then
runs in his orange Clemson tiger paw trunks with a cup of sugar (usually for red Kool-
Aid) throws it all over sunbathing counselor Denise (dooby doo) the crystals shimmering
on her brown baby oiled legs as she gets up to scream fuck you!
How to make your hair look like Denise? In the bathroom mirror you take a T-shirt place
the neck hole over your head like a habit leaving a little bang and curl one side over an
ear. You put towels under the door crack to prevent sisters or parents from seeing a
glimpse of your feet in front of the mirror while the cold (can’t lose that reflection in fog)
Mr. Bubbled bathwater runs.
A lot of time: family fights screechy cartoons Clue “Unsolved Mysteries” Anne of Green
Gables. A ball on the floor listening to oldies radio hoping to be caught in a traffic jam
where everyone abandons their cars to dance in the street to Bobby Bland’s “Yield Not
to Temptation.” Puffed-sleeved blue prom dress (a bit noisy though to put on / hope
no one hears) snagged from my sister’s closet I lip sync “The Tide is High” I lip sync
“Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch-Me.” I gallop across my bedroom to Hooked on Classics
“Trumpet Voluntary” set to a disco beat. Gallop and spin to kitty identities unraveled in
“Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.”
Everything tuneful broad magnificent even the commercials for deodorant drunk driving
and Juicy Fruit soar. I want more. My friend Hugh says “I Wish It Would Rain Down” by
Phil Collins is the best song he has ever heard.
“Red Red Wine” “Love Shack” “Express Yourself” “Cold Hearted” “Smurf Rock ’90”
“Kokomo” in the Liberty rollerink. Blue and pink lights acid wash jeaned couples hand-
in-hand skating sometimes kissing.
A ride to the dump in the station wagon as the Traveling Wilburys sing “End of the
Line.” I bob my head blonde fringe blowing up and out in the sideview—big black Hefty
bags of trash in the way back. We park I jump out ruffle my hair like Shue I run to the
edge and before the pit in the earth of sun gleaming glass plastic bags mattresses &
tires I flinch from the flies and the sweet heated stench and I stand above gasping in
wonderment—the biggest expanse of land I’ve ever seen.
Accompanying song is "Every Little Step" by Bobby Brown.
JEFFERY BERG grew up in Six Mile, South Carolina and Lynchburg, Virginia. He received an MFA from NYU. His poems have appeared in Court Green, the Gay & Lesbian Review, Map Literary, Assaracus and Harpur Palate. He has written reviews for The Poetry Project Newsletter and Lambda Literary. A Virginia Center of the Creative Arts fellow, Jeffery lives in New York and blogs at jdbrecords.