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From Where Here Were We, by Charles Bernstein and Norman Fischer

 

May 1 – May 8, 2020

Continuously crawling
In yon mud fields
Going on then (then)
Going on (then) there
Then stop then fall
Then crawl then sprawl
Then fly then called
Then oft then cuff

Or choked in fouled air
In sweetest fold
As thoughtless chatter
Gilds the mold

What yonder thunders
Weal or woe
Where wow thumps now
In frost or snow
Let us pray
(Or otherwise express
Regret, dismay)
Cruising to the moon
In a big fat pontoon
Warped speed
As in, get with it
By going without it
Put your dime
On a quarter
And your quarter
On a sputter

The world we knew is gone
(It always was and will be)

So make up new ones
With tape and stings
Fodder and shudder
Mixing hope with lies
Uncovering ganglia
In lair and slake
Bedazzled, tremble
Shake and fake

Until the tide’s toast
And mother of dreams
A threshing machine
For gasping at stalks
Like they were lollipops
And bodies made over
With bits of string

The Sphinx the tunnel
The ring around being
The river the mountain
The skinny the brink
The layer the brayer
A puddle of ink

In which to sink
Or spin
Like Desi & Lucy
Ditching a mink

“I come in peace”
(But not for me)
“I mean no harm”
(But not for me)
“I bear no malice”
(But not for me)

The shape of the color
(I’ve heard it said)
The ear of the eye
(But in other people’s heads)
In clamor in stupor
(Till leaves us cold)
In hammer or sty
(In calico lies)
Lock up the pistil
(Give me the tour)
Strike up the band
(I’m waiting for more)
Load the revolver
(I am ready to strike)

Sigh Say Sow
Seed Seem Suck
Suit Sweat Swear

Blink Blank Blare
Bitter Batter Bare

Unhook the monster
Is the mission

Bring up the rear
With infinite care

Tie your hair

Disappear

 

 

(Image: Gerhard Richter’s Seestück (Morgenstimmung) (Seascape (Morning Mood)), 1969)

 

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Poet, essayist, theorist, and scholar Charles Bernstein is the author of many books, including Near/Miss, Recalculating, All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems, and Attack of the Difficult Poems. He is the 2019 winner of Bollingen Prize from Yale University, the premiere American award for lifetime achievement.

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Norman Fischer is the author of many books, including Untitled Series: Life as It Is, Nature, There Was a Clattering As..., The Museum of Capitalism, and Selected Poems: 1980-2013. His poetry has been published in Big Other, Jacket, Talisman, Bombay Gin, and many other journals.

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