Two


Vaudeville

For Lorenz Hart


Clovers will rot. An intimacy conjured by the crucial
Sighs and words that surround us. We’re not, after all
In this concealment for nothing like all pornos it’s a
Family act picking our favorite words to cloak our non-
Sentiments. Not being able to trespass knowledge, the
Marker of infidelity. The
Bridge is left always so unformed. Because
No poet emerges on second thought. Vanessa
Founders on the edge of a shoe. Helen Keller did
Vaudeville too. She’d puppet
What she said too. A grimace was enough. I dropped
Three pounds and called it a day. Plotting, scheming to
Make all my money back. Some words we cherish
Seahorses and seesaws make us forget. They try too
Hard to unearth every last bit of tinsel from her
Shelled out anatomy. False eternities conveyed in
Her lyre. False and utter helplessness in her teardrops
This little girl blue went out to market and stayed there
The piggy went home and hid under the bed. Some say
Locked deep inside her skull, when her green ribbon
Comes untied, we see her actual emotional vomit.
The more mute, the more you are a muse, the more
Fisting required, the happier to see you my dear.
Blanket falls right on cue to wrap him. Right as
Snow hits his face. Bullies make him feel
As if it’s like he is no less who he already is. That’s
Refreshing. Note well that he confuses prison with
Psychic torment from yellowed privileged
Memory. My head cannot convince
Me otherwise. Disintegration is always playful at
First. The opaque kernel of torment that gullibility
Breeds is always filtered out by the
Precise repression machines bedimmed my
Early onset urge to leer
This
Becomes it.
To
Play forever. That is hell. Where a
Hermeneutics of suspicion becomes
Baseless denial of self. Without
vision, I flop. An agnostic
Peacock glides in and out of jargon
And fails to subsist. Showers of tranquil
Colors finally crown me. And knock
Me down to size. A caffeinated
Phantom
Thumb stuck in his own pie. Always
Grosser than you’d think. The only
Thing left that’s undreamt is sleep.
Shuddering at the Shoah.
Apples and honey and macaroni
Craft projects.  All visions pang.
And a lonely viper storms into
Shower and relief. Climb into
Bed on top of a sweet plume
No fear in sight, lengthened
Boundary, warding off all
Natal reminders of causality
A collective scream is hard
To turn off, scrambles my
Ceiling. I climb three vines
Shaped like tears and reach
A tarn swarming
As soon as
I catch sight of the tare
In river reflection, I
Seek to unrouse myself
Analytically, loosen up
My winter-bright mind
But there is nothing left
That isn’t damp and cold
Italy is worse than I thought
And I can’t convince myself
Otherwise. Stifled by low
Mist and gondolas, one
Gets the sense that
Felix, if only, your
Balmy eyes…
It’s okay to be rich
In some things and
Empty handed in
Others. A new-moon
Slants light on a
Puddle and I’m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sui Cide


Glass child at looking glass
Glares at her own half grimace
Cloaked in a hollow tree in a
Beachwood forest she has no
Need for funereal longing or
Love poetry, shrouded, she
Sits in spidery light and
Stares, not desperate but
Light like a linnet, she
Dissolves into imago and
Sheds the salty shelling
That kept her wed to the
Misguided strangers, who
Sneak around her to get
A peek. Waves crash at
Her feet. And she
Sucks in all men from
Their masts then returns
To her soil and
Rots

Just take it from me
I’m just as free as
Any daughter
I do just what
I like
And how I
Love it

May she become a
Flourishing hidden
Tree, out by his
Bridge, she waits
And waits, drowns

Pagliaccio
Picks her
Up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributor

Felix Bernstein

Felix Bernstein is the author of Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry (Insert Blanc Press) and Burn Book (Nightboat, forthcoming). His writing has been featured in Bomb, the Believer, Poetry Magazine, and Hyperallergic. His performance Bieber Bathos Elegy will debut at the Whitney in January 2016. His website is felixbernstein.com.

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