Dark City

by Charles Bernstein

				"We're a great pair  --
				I've got no voice
				& you've got no ear."
		    		-- Lizabeth Scott to 
					Charlton Heston, Dark City

1.  Apple-Picking Time

A transom stands bound to a flagpole.  Hard
by we go hardly which way is which
lingering somewhere unsettled where evidence
comes harder by sockets, stems
etched in flexed omission like osmotic
molarities flickering edge and orange at flow
rates unrepresentative of ticking or torpor
any child or person requires for, well
against, that remorse remonstration 
brings.  It's cold outside, maybe 
but the heart sinks daily in 
slump of sampled parts and I
feel like carelessness, disowning what's
acquired in indifferent
animation, no body swaps to --
not as if elevated or cut down
to size up, like layers of lost
boys, like aspiration in a tub
at sea, lists all the scores and
scares at measures twice the fall.
I'm parked because I have no taste
to go -- penned down, no row to call
my own.  Abruptly, silently borrowing
ignition from rumble, pouring 
face into a 
stir . . .
We're a great fire, pining for a 
tower to burn through, yet no matter
whose ice scatters our shouts --
dive for the switches, bury the

	There's an eggplant in heaven
	Seen it there, know the sign
	It's awaiting for me
	End of time, long-lost rime

							[stanza break]
I loved my love with gold
She loved me with her smile
But I took no possession
Then  / Had no taste called mine
I knew I wept alone that night
As sure as sheep in folds
The I has ways the arm betrays
For now my lance is warped

The Bitter Core o'erwhelms its fate
An abler loss casts breeze
Sobriety's a fool's way out
I'll take the sea in me, in me
Nor swap the waves for thee.

Floorlength gowns of commodious indelicacy
suffusing articles on plums
in monk's applause, equipped with attenuated
slips, adjunctive rumination, felt
bellows.  Before I, in the interests of
but not to further ascribe, at which
mechanism, slate, pediment, protrusion
abutment, laceration, absinthe-oriented
divestment gaged to occur or unveil
its numinous ectoplasmic Jill or gel or
Overboard or just over-by-a-long
shot.  Grateful to even imagine

	As a matter of fact
	I'm as good as packed.
	I slept longer than you
	Now isn't that true?

A poem should not mean but impale
not be but bemoan,
       bubble.  Malted meadows & hazelnut
innuendos:  I'll bet the soda water
gets the shakes sooner than
Dan gets to Tampa.  "Don't Tampa
with me or I'll lacerate that 
evisceration off your face so fast
you'll think my caddle prod was a
lollipop."  "Stay out my face or I'll
deploy my assets against whatever 
collateral you've got left after I 
target your abstemious alarm."  He
was the kind of guy who pushed
my buttons but couldn't carry a
tune from Kuala Lampur to 
Guadalajuara, like those zebras
with cross hatchings, or the trapeze
family with Venusian ventilators.  I 
mean I felt good at first 
but then it dawned on me, what 
if it was really a mistake, maybe 
I shouldn't have said what I 
said, did what I
done.  Mildred paced around the museum
for another few hours before she spotted
him, but it was much too crowded to
finish the job right there.  "They were
my favorite boots," she cried.  "They are
your only boots," I replied.

3. Endless Destination

If I should die
cut out my throat
and burn it on the pyre
of their indifference.
It means no more to me
than that, to take
your hand in my 
hand and turn our backs
from the wreck
not of our lives
but where we have been given
to live them.  I would not
walk alone here, where the
dark surrounds, where your face
radiates beyond my swollen
misgivings and clarifies the mist
of my belonging.  Stay near
that I may hold you lightly
else the fear inside tear
away what measures I have
held against the night.

Love's no more than that
a straw against the wind
that blows us to the ground
without submission.  Come
love, come, take this
shadow I call me: cast
it against stone, lest the gloom
become us.  Come cast me
down 'gainst shore, where
sand enfolds us.

Love is like love, a baby
like a baby, meaning like
memory, light like light.
A journey's a detour
and a pocket a charm 
in which deceits are borne.
A cloud is a cloud and
a story like a story,
song is a song, fury 
like fury.