By Bill Berkson b. 1939 Bill Berkson

For Bernadette Mayer

Just one more vintage movie,
Batwings tonight at the Bal Masqué — 
Another creature stuffed
By distinguished pedigree.

I get a lot of madcap ideas about sentience,
How knowing has you put down in the book
Forbidden speech recognition — 
Else why make such a face?

And now it’s luck no longer mouth that moves
When fastidious rummage whispers
To divulge a surplus
A clue if not the key.

Prospect my question laps up for good — 
I lean to it. Knowing you,
First-person dwindle.
Tweet-tweet. Prick.

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, The Mind


SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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