thinking i think i think

By Charles Bernstein b. 1950 Charles Bernstein
What are aesthetic values and why do
there appear to be lesser & fewer of
them? Quick: define the difference
between arpeggio & Armani. The baby
cries because the baby likes crying.
The baby cries because a pin is
sticking into the baby. The baby
is not crying but it is called
crying. Who’s on first, what’s
shortstop. The man the man declined
to be, appraised at auction at
eighty percent of surface volume.
Cube steak on rye amusing twist
on lay demo cells, absolutely no
returns. Damaged goods are the only
kind of goods I ever cared about.
The lacuna misplaced the ladle,
the actor aborted the fable. Fold
your caps into Indians &
flaps. Dusting the rigor mortis
for compos mentis. Rune is busting
out all over—perfidious quarrel
sublates even the heckling at
the Ponderosa. A bevy of belts.
Burl Ives turned to burlap. Who
yelled that? Lily by the lacquer
(laparotomy). I’m here strictly on
business, literary business. May
I propose the codicil-ready cables?
Like slips gassing in the night.
Chorus of automatic exclusions.
Don't give me no label as long as I
am able. Search & displace, curse
& disgrace. Suppose you suppose,
circumstances remonstrating. Crest
envy. Don’t give me the Bronx
when you mean the Bronx. This
one thing I know for she loathes
me so: Ketchup will pass for blood
only under highly limited conditions.
I had a red ball / I watched it
fall. Help me so that I may exist
again. It’s the billyclub not the
Billy that needs watching. Keep
your eye on the balloon (cartoon)!
Budge, but then move back into
position. In other words, steal
my car but don’t steal my sister’s
hood. Ironclad comeuppance. Breakfast
at the Eiffel tower, lunch at the
Kremlin, dinner at the Taj Mahal.
In other words, hurt me
but don’t hurt me so bad.
May flies / So June can hold
July. That’s no arrow that’s a
diversionary tactic. That’s no
spastic that’s my elocutionary
lodge. When all the cares
have become little tiny porous
creatures, buckling under the weight
of the remorse. The barfly butters
his bread on all sides of the
collective agency, while even at home
the Colonel takes out the garbage.
You will find a moist towelette
with your porridge. Then just say so.
Cratylus, Cratylus, wilt thou be   
mine?  As I is the starch from
yesterday’s yawning. Cure me
so that I will smoke yet not be
consumed (at least not at a
discount). Pools rush in
where barriers have not been
fortified. Rule rules
where furriers redesign. “Amish
modern.” French poetry is looking
for a way out of “French poetry.”
Ne touchez pas cette button. The
color of baloney. WWW.TheSirens.Org.
Ne touchez pas ma bologna. Her
hair was auburn her eyes like amber.
Honest to gosh gullies: arraignment
of a power untapped & untappable.
Quittez votre place (Kitaj dislikes
his place). Emboss my fiduciary
capitulations! The bellicose churning
of the unsettled stomach. National
Geographic’s “Robot” issue:
The Wilderness of the Future, e.g.,
the Gates Robot Preserve, the
American Robotic Conservancy,
the Fund for Robotic Culture,
the National Endowment for Robots
(a.k.a. U.S. Congress). Millions
for automation but not one cent
for elegy. Eight elephants dancing
deliriously to the wail of the   
bumble bees. So long, sailor /
goodbye failure. Or let the pail
wear the head of the lotion. Here
is smoldering continuation. The
smell of green tea on Greene Street.
Bottled reticence. Gimme gimme
gone. Guilt in the form of guilt.
         “& even then my heart was aching
         For I am yours, just for the taking...”

Charles Bernstein, "Thinking I think I think" from With Strings (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Source: With Strings (The University of Chicago Press, 2001)

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Poet Charles Bernstein b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

 Charles  Bernstein

Biography

Poet, essayist, theorist, and scholar Charles Bernstein was born in New York City in 1950. He is a foundational member and leading practitioner of Language poetry.  Bernstein was educated at the Bronx High School of Science and at Harvard University, where he studied philosophy with Stanley Cavell and wrote his final thesis on Gertrude Stein and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the mid-1970s Bernstein became active in the experimental . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

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