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All Aboard

By Bernadette Mayer

Tumbled down an incline at Bash Bish

Broke many things; it was still spring

Clouded over, it was too rainy to walk annually

At Bartholomew's Cobble; a coneflower appeared

As did a lupin, even some alyssum

Be forewarned: the eternal perennial

Is not immortal, though rooted in the ground

& coming back, it might disappear

In a wild fire, tornado or apocalypse

Or move over in a spring flood

Or earthquake; you move over & you'll see

The same thing you saw yesterday, maybe

It's the welcome wagon, here's

A cherry pie; the cherries are eternal


After Catullus and Horace

By Bernadette Mayer

only the manners of centuries ago can teach me

how to address you my lover as who you are

O Sestius, how could you put up with my children

thinking all the while you were bearing me as in your mirror

it doesn't matter anymore if spring wreaks its fiery

or lamblike dawn on my new-found asceticism, some joke

I wouldn't sleep with you or any man if you paid me

and most of you poets don't have the cash anyway

so please rejoin your fraternal books forever

while you miss in your securest sleep Ms. Rosy-fingered dawn

who might've been induced to digitalize a part of you

were it not for your self-induced revenge of undoneness

it's good to live without a refrigerator! why bother

to chill the handiwork of Ceres and of Demeter?

and of the lonesome Sappho. let's have it warm for now.


BERNADETTE MAYER will read from her work at 8 p.m. Friday at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, 453 Porter Ave., as the concluding event of "Modes of Love and Reason: A Bernadette Mayer Symposium,"organized by the UB Poetics Program. Mayer, an avant-garde writer often associated with the "New York School" of poets, is the author of more than 20 collections of poems, the most recent of which is "Poetry State Forest" (New Directions Press, 2008). Editor's Note: Bash Bish is a cascading waterfall, and Bartholomew's Cobble, an agricultural preserve. Both are in Berkshire County in southwest Massachusetts.

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