Fable of the Mermaid and the Starbuckers

All these Starbuckers were there inside

When she entered, nude.

She came from the East River,

She lost her way. Eyes came from faraway.

Wended her way between hookers and bucks.

No one noticed. Who was she?

Glided into Starbucks.

Did they see?

Gray faces, gray tables

White spaces, gray fables

Smell of coffee, smell of money

Ringtone tinkled Lovely Rita

Someone seeking Goddess Sita?

Fingers tapped Blueberry

Brains blogged Strawberry

Twitter blogged I-phone

Tarragonswiss gelatocone

Pointy heads cyberspace

MySpace  YourSpace

Beyond time and face

Eyes glazed laptop

Educated—Stop and Shop


Viral infection since July

Did they see?

No one asked

Who was she?

She did not know tears

She did not weep

She did not know dreams

She dared not sleep

She tried, tried to imagine

A pirouette

Did she forget

Did she forget

She did not know words

She did not speak

Eyes were birds

White and meek

Arms were topaz

Lips—coral light

Eyes were birds

Stripped in flight

Silence twined her glistening flesh

Blindness blanked her golden breast

Glided by

Who was she

No one noticed

Did they see

Suddenly, she left by that door.

She entered the river, gleaming

A white stone in the rain

Only hearing her refrain

Without a backward glance

She drew a breath

Swam toward never

Swam toward death


  • Bernard Block was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and attended Cornell University and Brooklyn College. He hitch-hiked to California in 1965 and lived in the Haight-Ashbury through 1967 where he gave poetry readings at the I and Thou Coffee Shop, North Beach coffee houses and Golden Gate Park. He returned to NYC and studied with the poet Colette Inez in the mid '70's. He earned his living as a caseworker with the Bureau of Child Welfare in New York City (he is now retired). Bernard has read at all the major spoken-word venues in NYC. He has presented his poetry in venues in Philadelphia, Columbia, SC and Asheville, NC. In August, 2014 he was invited to feature in Laugharne, South Wales in celebration of the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. Bernard curates and hosts the Series “From Whitman to Ginsberg” at Cornelia St. Café. There have been 21 editions of this Series; the most recent was presented on September 28, 2018. All 21 editions were videotaped and can be accessed on his YouTube Channel. He has had 38 poems published in the prestigious European on-line literary journal Levure Littéraire #8, #9 and #12 (Editors: Rodica Draghincescu; Erika Dagnino). Five of Bernard's poems appear in the French/English literary journal Recours au Poème (Editor: Marilyne Bertoncini) with French translation by Elizabeth Brunazzi. In an article in this journal regarding the NYC poetry scene, Ms. Brunazzi devotes a significant discussion to Bernard's poetry and his organizing role on that scene. Bernard Block’s book of poetry "Am I My Brother’s Keeper?" has been released by Dark Light Publishing. This is a bilingual edition, English/Spanish, with evocative translations by the eminent Mexican poet, Roberto Mendoza Ayala. It is available on Amazon and from the author: [email protected]