“bernstein, What Good Are You? ” Poem by Charles Chaim Wax

“bernstein, What Good Are You? ”

Rating: 5.0

Caught off guard by the question
especially the tone of Treasure’s voice
sad, bitter, aggressive.
“And I’m tired of your talk.”
Staring now, watching me,
I didn’t like the waiting
so whispered, “What’s this about? ”
“Fucking children.”
I never in my life.”
“Your kind.”
Suddenly Larry Plunkett plopped down
at our table in Meng’s saying,
“Need that dollar
in your pocket, Bernstein? ”
I dipped in and handed him
two singles
then he quickly played
a tune on his Kazoo.
“Without this little darling
I’d be a dead man, ” he said.
“You’re good at that, Bernstein, ” said Treasure,
“tidbits to the lost.”
“He’s does his best, ” said Larry,
“I’ll vouch for that, indeed
last week I seen him in
Brighton Beach coming
outta a health food store
which just so happened
was next to Starbucks, and don’t you
know, the man spent $4.75 on a coffee
for me, then handed me his copy of
the Times, and sat myself down, after saying thanks
and hobnobbed with the rich and famous
for a good six hours.
raining it was, so happy to be
indoors and warm. Thus,
to conclude, Bernstein is a righteous
“The New York Fucking Times…”
At that Larry began laughing
couldn’t stop, flopped to the floor,
looked up at Treasure saying, “You got a way with words.”
“Where I found out about children
forced into prostitution.
In the article I read twenty-six men
entered a twelve year old girl
day after day, until she said, “No.”
Beat her. Still, No,
finally drugged her senseless
then the fucking,
like fucking a corpse
cocksuckers didn’t care.”
“Bastards, ” said Larry,
“This happen over in Brighton Beach?
cause there’s perverts walking them streets.”
“Pakistan, ” said Treasure.
“Oh, ” said Larry
lowering his eyes
then asking, “And where might that be?
cause I failed Geography three times
in sixth grade, and, well, never did make it to high school.”
“Tell him, Bernstein.”
“Far away, ” I mumbled.
“Here, ” Treasure said
her fist
plunging into her heart.

Hugh Cobb 10 April 2006

Wherever injustice is it hurts one place and one place only that is the human heart and spirit. Pakistan or down the block doesn't matter at all, what matters is that it ever happens! A heart rending poem.

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Joseph Daly 09 April 2006

Charles I hope this is not a questioning of virtues. It is, as ever, an excellent write and even you should be allowed the occassional expression of doubt if only to reaffirm your greatness. I remember when I first read your work and I thought 'This guy is a poetic Springsteen' but I soon came to realise that whereas the boss reported on the lives of characters, you made humans out of them. Incidently the lines: “This happen over in Brighton Beach/ cause there’s perverts walking them streets.” should have a question mark or it becomes a bit confusing. I only point that out to show how much attention I give to your works.

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