Monday, May 5, 2014

The Bookworm / The Dance / A Reminder That It's Not Always Cold, And It's Not Always Bleak


Mark Berriman

After living in Atlanta, New York City and Milwaukee, Mark Berriman has called the Twin Cities his home for the last 20 years. He is an author, a poet and artist, and member of the Minneapolis rock band, “in black print”.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, his work is influenced by global events as well as post-modern culture. He is the author of three poetry collections. The new “in black print” EP is available via itunes.
Mark has been a guest on many television and radio programs including The Bob Utecht Show, Meet the Author and The Mischke Broadcast. His work has appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Star Tribune, The Stillwater Gazette and numerous regional and national periodicals. He has read and performed across the Midwest.
His artwork has been featured in a number of galleries throughout the Twin Cities. He currently serves as the Publisher of the Stillwater Gazette and The Stillwater Gazette Valley Life.

The Bookworm


Applause welcomes her
as she arrives, again
She always thinks
that way
Her internal soundtrack
Applause wrestles aside
The Mission Impossible theme song
The Peter Gunn theme
A Shot in the Dark
John Zorn’s saxophone
spitting sparks
The applause

An ordinary day began
with an ordinary morning
grappling into long shadows
of an early afternoon
Whispers break
her soundtrack into pieces
as she passes the girls
with long painted nails
snapping their pink gum
behind blackened teeth

The girls who were smoking
Newports in the back
alley where you can
barely hear
yourself over
the sound
of the fans
whirring away
Throwing out
heat and exhaust
that smells like the bad
end of a bad day

They call her
"Bookworm"
behind her
back she knows
but she is fine
with that

There was a time
when all she thought
of was a dissecting pan
filled with black wax
A worm stretched apart
Held open with pins
Scalpel
Forceps
Probe & Seeker
The smell of formaldehyde
and Mrs. Knoepfel barking
instructions on the proper way
to cut the clitellum
without damaging
the dorsal blood vessel
the central nerve cord

She stops
at the globe
sitting upon its clear
plexiglass stand
She touches the Pacific
and turns it
ever so slightly
with fingers deep in
the blue you only find
on old postcards
from exotic places
And globes

A polished penny
on the floor catches
her eye looks
like its straight
out of Frisco
or Philly
Freshly minted
She picks it up
and puts the coin
in her faded black jeans
to join its sisters
in her pocket
Jingling and jangling
to her rhythmic strut

She removes
her coat with maps
of the Old World
and the New York
subway system
sewn into its interior
Eurasia
Crosstown Line
Africa
Nassau Street Line

She approaches
the table
The wood spread
out before her
Knot upon glorious
knot with a grain
put there
by god

She spreads
the slender volumes
Collected works
Selected works
Her father told her
its not safe
to consort
with poets

They are a dangerous sort
with heads in clouds
Dreamers
Unpractical grammar slayers
Idealists
These descendents
of Odin and Saga are not
to be trusted


But her fingertips
calloused and rough
from yellowed pages
cannot resist
their pull
Some days she just needs
to sit
She needs
to read
She needs
to think
She needs
to not think
She needs
to escape
Depart
through the pages
of the poets




The Dance


I want to touch
every part
of every part
of her



A Reminder That It’s Not Always Cold, And It’s Not Always Bleak


I can see the line
of her jaw
The soft creases
in her skin
when she smiles
The crease between
her brows
I tell her
“don’t do that”
She can’t
help it
The fine gray hairs
you have to get
real close
to see
I have been real
close to see
That spot
on the back
of her neck
The small
of her back
Her hips when I pull
her close to me

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