He limped, and I was limping too.
I almost spoke to him,
But we looked past each other.
I had a heel spur, or a hole in my heel,
Nasty stuff, partisan, too, with irritability.
The sky had about eight colors in it, like it was healing from something
It hadn’t been told of.
Joe Cocker was singing what sounded like “Unchange My Heart.”
I knew around four hundred and fifty people.
My lower legs flared out a little bit, so that I looked like I was made of glass.
I was driving something the size of Edinboro.
When my mother was born, she named me Leif, pronouncing it Life,
After life on earth.
Whether in my mind or close to where I was standing,
Whether I was strong or just thought I was strong,
Teachers still called to me, the city and I were still a decent match.
Every minute a strong train wished itself through.
I saw the clear thin ropes attached to long-stemmed roses
Hanging in windows over the highway.
I could feel people walking on top of the ground.
When I first wrote that last piece, I said she is going to love this,
And she didn’t, and then wrote to tell me she did.
Back at the time when people were everything,
When sitting with them was almost as great, there was a second
Major difference that I still couldn’t put my finger on.
Now “we’re” reliably in the background,
Less nervously in charge,
Miles of dry runs past the fading point.
Imagine saying, You won’t get anywhere
Without your particles.
Brain stuff, too, the brain as a bed
And the colors of the pills we’re going to hold.
The way science has said it
Will draw us the same strange picture
People have always been asking for,
Like the life it’s slave to isn’t riddle enough.
It could have been Yogi Berra who said
You are only as good as your last poem.
There was something wrong with the drawers,
The kind of place where they sew up your lips
And try to tempt you into conversation,
Curtains that were impossible to clean.
No matter what you put in my stomach,
You want me back in my arms,
Everything taken home
And strobed, and the rain
Sprocketed. He limped, and I was limping
Too. I saw a mess of wild boar, scared
To death just driving past them.
Later there were some drops, just a few,
As I switched to the lake.
The owner rolled out an awning and someone screamed “Wunderbar!”
A man turned his head in this direction, his glasses
Barely hanging off the tip of his nose.
A woman thought, I’m going to have a baby,
And a man beeped at her—she was in the way of his car.
He limped, and I was limping too.
lebt in: Baltimore, Vereinigte Staaten
Donald Berger wurde 1956 in New York City, genauer gesagt in Queens geboren und wuchs in den Bundesstaaten New York und Massachusetts auf. Er studierte an der University of Massachusetts und der University of Washington. Insgesamt vier Jahre lebte er in Deutschland, teils als Fulbright Fellow Stipendiat in Tübingen, teils als Stipendiat am Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
Berger hat an der University of Maryland und am Montgomery College Literatur und kreatives Schreiben unterrichtet, und lehrt derzeit an der Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Donald Berger ist ein Dokumentarist seines Lebens und der vergehenden Zeit. Er nimmt in den Text, was und wer ihm begegnet: Freunde, deutsche und amerikanische Dichterkollegen, Superman und Brando, Lincoln und Whitman – alles dient ihm dazu, das Vergehende im Wort zu bannen. Seine Sprache ist eine gehörte. Sie ist nah am Alltag, lakonisch, dennoch rhapsodisch, destilliert in einer raffinierten Syntax.
Seine Prosa und seine Gedichte sind zudem in zahlreichen Zeitschriften publiziert worden, u.a. in The New Republic, Slate, Conjunctions, Colorado Review, Ironwood, The Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, Fence, The Massachusetts Review, und in Magazinen in Berlin, Leipzig und Budapest.
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