Barnett Berger: For Losers

The poem below is by Barnett Berger.

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For Losers

Quest for a vision
The morning of awareness
Dawn of the ocean
The sweet, loving spaces of intimacy
Whispered caresses
Suntanned kisses
Words calming and mirroring faith
Now replaced by grunts
Harmonic ostinatos
Shouting through hollow bones
Anger carrying stormy divisions
Even as it resolves to waltz time
Oh, what would it be without you?
A dizzying blue path
A walk without footprints
Who gives a damn
Going down
Like a clown
Words are confused
When lovers, they lose

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Barnett Berger: No Two Snowflakes

The poem below is by Barnett Berger.

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No Two Snowflakes

No two snowflakes are alike
No object from sky to earth
Could possibly be identical
We don’t know the sky’s influence in formation
We don’t know the objects encountered on the downward ride
And we don’t know the impact on the landing

And neither are there identical tears
Because tears come from heaven
All we know is they too are earthbound
From forces and provocations
Innumerable
But in ways we cannot count
Or even compose, they are
Cleansing, very cleansing
At least in the moment

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Barnett Berger: Six A.M.

The poem below is by Barnett Berger.

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Six A.M.

The river sends its chill
The stars above are incantatory
Wishing me well
Creation of sound is my purpose
Heard or unheard
Harmonious or distant
Taut with dissonance
Or flowing with the signals
Calling sweet love
I am a wingwalker
And for an unknown swatch of time
I walked with death
Holding me close
So close I never knew its loving embrace
And could not respond
My home is Jordan
My wishes and desires
Have no matter
But there is sound
Only sound
Always sound
Words are simple pickings
From the gardens of fruit
There but for the leaving

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Barnett Berger: A Poem In His Memory By A Friend Who Wished To Remain Anonymous

The poem below is by a friend of Barnett Berger, who wished to remain anonymous.

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I woke up to drifting clouds
as Mother Nature came rolling in
with lightning flashing throughout the sky.
And as the birds departed
from the crackling of thunder all around,
the sun stayed hidden
behind the gray background.
It was the end of the world
for anyone who had been left outside.

So batten down the hatches
and pray yourself that you make it out alive,
because there really isn’t anywhere to run to
when the storms come
except for you to run for cover.
And for you to wonder
at the searching of the souls of the ones
who have preached of rainbows
and morning suns,
when in a tomorrow there are no promises.

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Barnett Berger: A Rare Soul

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In a community of Brooklyn writers, it is perhaps fitting that Barnett Berger was first met on a bus route, the No. 71, which no longer exists.  He was carrying an old book that likely shares the same fate.

He explained that he spoke slowly because he’d suffered a stroke.  But his careful, unhurried speech…reminiscent of some smoky beat-generation coffee house of long ago…became his signature sound.  The drawn-out strains of classic jazz, which he lived for and listened to as he wrote, could be heard clearly as he read his poetry in his characteristic drawl.  We were once or twice able to guess the piece that had inspired a poem before he told us its name.

This music was Barnett’s life, his love for it so pure that his belief that he didn’t have the talent to play it only fueled his commitment to it as an ardent fan.  For Barnett, music was life’s all and everything, the very reason for our existence.  Like a consummately attentive lover, he appreciated the subtlest differences between recordings of the same work.  He knew his facts but would share them quietly, full of reverence for the mystery from which all art is born.

Was he contemplating such thoughts…all the things that exist in the present and all the things that now exist only in the past…when he was struck by a car and died?

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