Now     my country begins

Like the wind in motion

something is burning out there

if you see a singer in a bar

if you have questions about God

if you see a wooden machete

dangling from a tree

you know that my country begins here

When you hear the conch shell break

when you see black water overflowing the banks

when you see blood dripping off the tracks

when you hear the conch shell singing of the people

if you hear the howl of ancient gestures

you know that my country or death

begins here

If you see the grimace of your son

if you feel the glare of your daughter

if you see the singer drop to the floor

when you see miraculous chains melt in hot tears

when you see the white corpse of the little one

you will see the condor descend

you know that my country begins here


When you see my comrade, Miguel, in the arc of the sun

when you hear the little bird’s complaint

when black water covers all the land

when you hear the wind in motion

when there is nothing left to hear

you know that my country or death begins

something is burning out there


  • 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]