Bryce Berkowitz

The World Outside In Bloom

Rectify heart in a riot.        Tooth through bowtie take a knee.
Pistol warm with blood spatter.        Gummed with paint-chipped brick.

Where do storms in Watts Towers gather
     to wash bone from blood & capture youth?

Copper jewels in trembling hands,        mirrored teeth in a horse’s mouth,
     smog wrapped tight around my throat,    whistling why through sandy

Misery lights flash on warm milk
                                          & lung fragment sticks to soul.
Each beat like a boxing glove blow.    Pistol report scribbled in desert dust,
where fallen angels taste embalmed
                                          & whisper psalms in the dark.


Portrait Of A Hustler With A Sunflower

Ziploc boy rolled in black bag.         Cornflower blue hanky.
Eighth-like casket: expense report    for ‘small time dealer’ to fold & fly.

Cracked, spit.    Fedora.                  Nothing but net, rejected by rim.
Blocked by hand, mouth, law.

                                                   Left, right, left:
                                                   wolf, corner, culture.

Who hung them boys from them chain nets?

                                                             Hi-tops on the telephone line.

Ribbon wrapped in blood bandana,    bow-tied in pillow fluff & denim
The dust of angles, a ribbon cutting.

Watch time unfold             the hands becoming
organs in a field where cicadas sing           through thin coin slots.
                             Clink. Clink, clink.

Bent by wind.
We glean this life from shade of moon.
Our tattooed prayers,
                   our lonely cribs.             We’re all lost in a field of sunflowers
before the body bag opens, and blooms.

Author Portrait

Bryce Berkowitz is an MFA candidate at West Virginia University. He is the assistant poetry editor at Cheat River Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Third Coast, Passages North, The Pinch, Eleven Eleven, Tampa Review, Permafrost, Evansville Review, San Pedro River Review, Oxford Magazine, Kentucky Review, Tulane Review, Oyez Review, among other publications.