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Justin Barisich

Freelancer. Satirist. Poet. Performer.

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  • Taking #improv classes with these kind and talented and hilarious folks has been so great and freeing over the past 8 weeks. Already looking forward to keeping the party going (and the family together) for the next level! #FAMu, #apples, #DadsGarage
  • Showed up way late to this #4thOfJuly party/family gathering at @dadsgarageatl, but still had a great time getting to actually blow up some shit in the name of Murica's b-day. Thanks for hosting and hanging, you beautiful people. I'll get there earlier next year!
  • So, last weekend, I had a great excuse to go explore another great American city courtesy of my dear homie Alfred's wedding. (Congrats, Coach, ya got yourself a good one, and glad I was able to celebrate with you, brothaman.) While not lookin' spiffy at the wedding, I got to hang out with the gracious and amazing Austin (who's now officially an award-winning #copywriter, y'all! #SoProud, #VSWuv) and his badass friends, as well as learn that #Chicago is actually really nice when it's not negative degrees outside. 
Enjoy some highlights of my bumbling around the third-largest city in this country (something else I just learned), which included trying three times to get some damn deep dish pizza and happening upon a Japanese cultural fest, a ginormous #PokemonGo gathering, Chance the Rapper, and yes, some snow even though it was June.
  • Oh, ya know, just some badass ladies being badasses on stage. @bleuxstockingssociety #Atlanta #LiveLit
  • I know I'm a day late here, but my dad doesn't do social media, so, ya know, potato potato. Anyway, in honor of Father's Day, here's one of pappy, literally one of the most dedicated, tenacious, and hard-working mofos I've ever known. But, he also knows how to laugh and cut loose, even (and especially) when life gets tough. For example, we have no idea who the guy pictured on the wall is. Dad just noticed him at the poboy shop that we stopped into one time when I was in town. He said, "Hey, that guy could be my grandpa! Let's take a picture with him!," and then laughed with his characteristic rasp. So I made him copy the pose, and damn, I guess I met my great-grandpa that day as well. Then he said, "Send it to ya momma so she knows what I'll look like in a few years." 😂
  • A brief, pictorial recap of my recent adventures to D.C. and Baltimore to see some of my besties. #MissYouGuys

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30/30 Poetry Challenge (2017) Creative Writing Poetry

Day 20 – Love is a Standardized Test (for Jonathan and Elizabeth on their wedding day)

By on June 11, 2017

[Photo Credit: Darrell McDavid Photography]

Love is a test we study for our entire lives
and hope we never have to take.
Because if we fail, it means we were
never prepared for it in the first place.

We emerge from the warmth
of the first woman who ever loved us,
screaming to be returned to the comfort
that is all we’ve ever known –
loving out of survival.

We watch the playground crushes,
perhaps get lucky enough to have a few ourselves –
exchanging the stolen lives of flowers
for plastic trinkets that will live on forever,
even without us, any of us,
any combinations of possible loves and lives.

We watch the Disney fables play out
in glorious fashion, with animation wizardry
montaging past the hard parts,
showing only the highlight reel of
happily ever after, brought to you by
the blotting out of grim truths.
Little girls a world over still search
for their Princes Charming, ever believing
they can still rise to life from ink.

We consume the reality shows
that feed us instructional videos
on how to prep our bachelor pads
so that we may leap
from one Lily to the next,
never lingering long enough
to make a splash in the pond.

We hear stories of our grandparents –
golden and wrinkled, celebrating
their 50th wedding anniversaries –
but it’s the photos of their darkest times
that never seem to get exposed.
We try to breadcrumb trail it back
to what they did to make it work,
but only half the signs are still there,
and they only point in one direction,
and our love has never been good
at following directions.

So Jonathan and Elizabeth,
when love comes for you –
and I hope it has come for you –
I hope you fail its test.
It’s standardized and media-distorted
version of humanity’s greatest function –
one that no formula or script or practice
could ever properly prepare you for.

Because if you did take it,
and if you did pass it,
you’d surely find happiness –
at least someone else’s idea of it –
but such a love would never last.
You’d remember what you’d memorized,
but forget why you’d ever tried to learn it.

So do not fill in the bubbles fully,
or show your work,
or use a #2 pencil,
or a non-graphing calculator,
or your inside voices to explain
your love or logic
for anyone else’s understanding.

Simply write your name at the top
in wide, purple, permanent marker,
Draw an anatomically-incorrect heart
on the back of your scantron,
and leave everything else blank.

Your answers for acing your specific love
apply to you two alone.
And whatever that is,
and whatever that may become,
has never had an answer key.

And no machine will ever be able to tell you
how perfect you are for each other.


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