JULIEN BERMAN - POEMS
A stretched canvas tarp
Not ungainly in style, but again not cut in a perfect polygon.
A wooden beam or two
Slung upwards and out, at ninety degrees.
A slit box in the center
Inserted down and through, to make a perfect line, not a parabola or catenary.
A rushed first-class lever
Protruding out the back, pushed this way and that, a reflection on the coordinate plane.
And fringed, taught chords
Not through a circle, but acting as hypotenuses for right triangles
Parting the water, its graceful figure a pelican; or a snooty cormorant
Turned up, a nose in scorn
More cloth at the top,
To signal what awaits.
Ode to a Candle
Creator and founder of the new,
Close companion of the blossoming sun;
I bow to you
To shake free my sorrows and regrets.
For now, as I look up to see the celestial fireball vanish
and graciously grant a silver orb the power of the sky,
You remain steady
Illuminating the bitter and somber black--
The sun has set. The birds are silent.
I set down my drink
And I take a seat at my oakwood table
Pull a small match box out of my pocket
And stare at your faceted wick.
I ignite your flare, your catalyst
And the memories drift and fade away
When you alight.
I set my head in my hands.
Who has not loved you and sung your praise?
Speak out! For I will come and do justice to the
Mortal beings who do not savor your power.
He who has now departed has
left me his candle, and so
Has given me hope.
I watch the fiery spade of flame
Sway, as a gust sweeps through the silent
Ripples of dust as they slowly twist through the air
And I realize that you are not one to banter
For such powerful dance needs but a spark.
You are god of internal beauty
But you have not been stoic and composed for eternity
You lash out at the evil that tramps through our midst
And you rest, poised, in your wax-smeared cup
Fading ‘til your last hour, minute, second
When I replenish your deceased carcass
With a new wax stem
Please, temper your might
And spare us, your lowly subjects, from your ire
When you are wrought with rage.
Where, oh master, is your cheer?
You have set us forth onto a new road of light
But you are not joyful.
You do not revel in the beauty that you create.
Expel the sorrow that the darkness which you
Constantly fight has set upon you.
Kill it I say!
You have a right to enjoy the heat you ooze for others
As your fire shimmers in the viscous air
And I am content
With just your warmth.
The Lost Tale from a Poet in ‘Nam