Bill Berkson




The Recital

           for Eric Fonteneau

It is said that, late in life, Denis Diderot force-fed his wife Nanette a diet of R-rated poetry and fiction, including his own Jacques the Fatalist, as a cure for her feelings of moral superiority. Diderot read to Nanette morning, noon and night, and whenever the Diderots had company, Mrs. D. would recite to her visitors whatever she had just absorbed. Slowly but surely, the cure took. "Conversation doubles the effect of the dosage," in a letter to their daughter wrote Diderot.

Camera Obscura

Ditsy love or
flagrant disturbation,
our happy murk
in a paper room --

what approval rating
did these persons,
not to be dissuaded,

The slogan
in signature attire,
ameliorative, yet with no especial
absence to speak of, steps up to purchase
one packet steel wool.