First Thing

By Bill Berkson b. 1939 Bill Berkson
Drown on all fours
Pennies from a box flood the frump market
Blasts of nacre, triage under weather’s speckled pool

The idée fixe never happens yet can’t be ignored
Still the moon is half full?
Speak for yourself with your hands up

The search is on
Search and destroy, if you will
Elimination starting with a lit fuse

Vacuumed anon
Your pleasure is the lee shore
Thunder smites the tundra’s paw

This should be memorable
Legs whited out
The runners advance

Source: Poetry (June 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2014
 Bill  Berkson


Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet, critic, teacher and sometime curator, who has been active in the art and literary worlds since his early twenties. He is professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, where, between 1984 and 2008, he taught art history, art writing and poetry; Berkson also served as interim dean in 1992 and directed the Letters and Science and public lectures programs. He studied at . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices


SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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