Strangers When We Meet

by Bill Berkson

Homage /Obit

I like to have a little secret at the end of my poems,
The way nothing is ever finished

Nor do I abandon a thing because
Of its being just plain bad.

“My painting,” said Juan Gris, “may be bad painting,
But at least it is Great Bad Painting.”

In case of emergency, I write this down,
And when all else fails, try being kind to strangers.

Not so funny, Jack, but don’t get me wrong:
Only deep in the mucous do I see.

Abdomen Ode

Paired wrongly with the obvious, a sitting blank
The walls between names selectively sealed
There must be some mistake,
As just when exotic dancers age, the slipper gives pause,
An old soft shoe opens for the slacker inane.
Her I last saw au balcon on point.
But it was an orbital capture, you dunderhead.
“Ni hao” in Chinese says “Hello.”
Nothing physical, the mystery thinning out
No matter slowly she turns
In plain English, all eyes, mouth and hair.