For the Heart of the Second Floor by Bill Berkson

Bill Berkson's Portrait And Dream: New & Selected Poems was published this year by Coffee House Press; other recent books include Goods and Services (Blue Press), BILL, with drawings by Colter Jacobsen (Gallery 16 Editions), Sudden Address: Selected Lectures and Ted Berrigan in collaboration with George Schneeman (both from Cuneiform Press). He received the 2008 GOLDIE in Literature from the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

For the Heart of the Second Floor*

            Now you see it
now you don't

            Not a problem put
this next to that

            Time and materials
that's the work

            Take-out pattern
recognition delivers

an apropos

            You recognize like the back of
nobody's business

            Small pleasures across fields
of dark matter splurge

            The problem lies

            Alongside the solution

            By the ponderous lake
raw stupor rules

            Fake governance
arrogance yammers

            The no-singing elephant
in the sunny situation room

            Outsourced consciousness
cheat sheets

on encrusted skulls

            No news is good from
sadsack Baggy Dad

            Or the cornfields

            So it goes
absent authenticity

            Under twinkly blurs
deft circularity

            Story threads legible
in every bright night sky

            Doused with travel plans
and grievance

            Compressor smudge an index
of indelible

            Opacification epithet
dire surmise default

            "What color is that?"

            Now that light has
come back to us

            Its bath of water fragments
celestial respiratory function thrives

            Some mornings I can tip my cap
air antique manners in the Philosophers

            Walk back reading up
on metamorphosis and pragmatism

             "There are many things more interesting
about me than my name" sings one attuned

            In bold magnanimity
colors squared with

            Shape advancing smilingly
print to fit


*Originally written for a broadside issued by Margaret Tedesco's Second Floor Projects, San Francisco, accompanying an exhibition of work by Ishan Clemenco, Susan Martin and Nina Zurier.