the poetry that matters

Nick Bertelson

Nick Bertelson lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA.

art in the age of mechanical reproduction by walter benjamin

did they snap each your fingers

like neruda with his sea shell and

ship in a bottle. who knows?

but let's face it, the repetition

would be excruciating, especially

for someone like you, they call your fingers films

and you watch them over and over

until the originality of bone

is convention bro    ken





getting out of the winter by boxcar


i'd get on the boxcar

& let it clank me 

to wherever it was the ice 

started melting from the metal,

a fever leaving the body.

& if it took too long

i'd breath visible words 

into the collar of my coat 

watching them fold

into my clothing, 

unheard over the rumbling


of getting there





a formalist critique of chemical reaction

...literature is ultimately metaphorical and symbolic.

...literature is not a surrogate for religion.
                                                             - Cleanth Brooks

stooping to such a steep low,

we had gasoline on our shirts

"mechanic's cologne"


been days since we seen fire

so we set one, then another

till the town was a pyre


& it was days later when it rained to douse

the houses down to ash 

(well that was the fire i guess


not water)

stop assuming the story true, or

the form will hold together


or that you get what you can't have back


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author photo by Ben Kaplan