Poetry by Emily Bernstein

Art is Not Dead
For T.S. Eliot

So this is the way the world tastes.

All the bitterness, and sadness,
and horror all condensed
to one unripe tomato.

But the oranges on the table
peal back into daytime.
And popping blueberries is
the beauty we feel in blankets.
It’s the truth in blackberries we crave.

Hurt and Hate spill the salt
on the table and forget to
throw some over their
left shoulders.

Honey and Happy wipe up
the mess and do the dishes
in silence with no complaints,
no worries.

My heart breaks 11 times a day.

The dollhouse we once played
with was sold long ago at
some garage sale with old
olive oil.

Soldiers kiss their mothers
and leave them standing alone
on that platform,
waiting for the last apple to fall.

Anxiety Alliteration

Between college and cool kids,
and boyfriends and best friends,
and drugs and dragging heels,
between hurt and heart,
and stillness and silliness,
between appetite and advanced courses,
I lost my leniency.

I look good on paper –
four-point-oh, favorite author: Vonnegut,
sports, spotless record,
reads, writes –
I’m the perfect princess
of propriety and procrastination.

But bubbling and boiling beneath
my rainbow sherbet exterior,
I fester and freak out.
I’m an insomniac,
an impressive inchworm that dreams only
within her house.

But I keep coming back.
I pretend to be perfectly primped.
I’m forbidden to be anything but fine.

On paper, I am pumped
and proper and
preened perfect.

I am sharp and I am smart.
I don’t struggle.
I don’t strain.

On paper,
I’m silent.
I’m submissive.

I’m certain.

If The Sun and Sky Were People

Would she feel heartbreak?
Would his arms steady against raging winds
off the sea of comets drifting by?
Do the sunsets and the black holes come as
menacing or timeless? What about you –
are you lonely?

Hopefully, you run your hands across her
stretch marks carefully and never tell her to stop
expanding and creating stars to gaze at on
cloudless nights.
I wonder, if he’s a horrifyingly good singer,
belting out notes full of bird songs and
lost hopes in the sky –
or if he’s clingy because he’s scared that one day,
she’ll be gone and he’ll be left with the burden
to deal with alone –
all the silly little problems
suddenly become
big again.

Dear Universe,
Are you faceless,
dreaming with your gaping body writhing?
Do your eyes close against the morning
when it gets loud again?
Is it hard when she doesn’t wave back
because she’s too busy juggling nine planets and a
moon between two hands?
Is it uncomfortable,
not being able to talk to her about your aches and nightmares
because the air is too thick and too thin?
Is it straining, not being able to tell him he’s beautiful
despite the scars of astronomy and dying stars?
Are you alone?

Emily Bernstein is a young, aspiring poet who is a rising sophomore at Chapman University, where she is getting a BFA in Creative Writing and a minor in Business. She is inspired by almost everything around her and loves what she gets to write down.


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