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 bursting

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 strictly here 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. Rules 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.The

Ne touchez pas ma bonogna. 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 . . .