View Archives by:


Not This Mouth

Jasper Bernes

Bigger & bigger, everything is so daddy today it cuts

No no no no, he repeats, doing it
anyway, pulling at the peril-colored outlet strip:
bear baby bread bad

“If there’s a name for it, it isn’t what he wants”

—which means bird but also (because
he’s pointing)

the withered trill of leaf
clicking shipwrecked in the fingers of a junk tree
thing-shaped names warmly swarm

and not the lumpen worldstuff
rising up to chew his untamed mouth

little Achilles, little engine that won’t.

Bird is no poem, but no bird is

it’s mere that makes dear reader
spit out its poem about pig-iron and ergo

the argot of desire rips out
the dictionary pages, ugly that
the wounds vowel together: no no nono

don’t plug that body in there
don’t, gulp, unplug that mommy from the other, softer mommy

a bird in the bread & a baby in the hole
in the head
                      a shine of home
buries sizzle in the smallest sign of wall

How much is us? Why shall we not
in such burning place live out our allotments?

nothing looks good on paper

if you can tame it, you can have it

Jasper Bernes

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems