• Address 720 East Locust Street | Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Phone 414.263.5001
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm | Sat-Sun 12-5pm | Closed Mon
  • Hours Tue-Fri 11-8pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm, Closed Mon
Event Calendar
«
»
special events
April 21

Join us for the 13th annual RIVERWEST FOLLIES variety show

performances
April 22

ACL presents Renee Baker Quartet, Visual Dark Scratch Suite

exhibitions
April 22

Woman: Frailty Thy Name, works by Renee Baker

readings & workshops
April 25

Reading: Toni Jensen

readings & workshops
April 26

Four Milwaukee Poets: Alix Anne Shaw with Annie Grizzle, Sam Pekarske & Bethany Price

readings & workshops
April 28

Wisconsin Reads: Reading with Louise Erdrich (video streamed to Woodland Pattern)

readings & workshops
May 2

Poetry Reading: Rena Priest and Denise Low

readings & workshops
May 2

Craft Talk with Denise Low at UWM

readings & workshops
May 10

Birds in Poetry at Urban Ecology Center

performances
May 13

Alternating Currents Live presents: The Transatlantic Bridge #11

readings & workshops
May 16

Kundiman Midwest Chapbook Series Noel Pabillo Mariano

performances
May 17

Formations Series for New & Improvised Music

readings & workshops
May 24

Poetry Reading: Urban Echo Poets

performances
June 3

ACL presents: Tom Hamilton & City of Vorticity

John Beer

John Beer is the author of The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium, 2010). Associative and imaginative, his work has been compared to that of John Ashbery. Poet Lewis Warsh wrote that The Waste Land and Other Poems "embraces and distills 'the bad dream' and all 'the muck' of the recent past, but the momentum of this book is full speed ahead." Beer's criticism has appeared inVerse, the Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, and other magazines. He is a theater writer for Time Out Chicago.

Selected Poems

from Sonnets to Morpheus


John Beer

 

What did you have to hope for? A single sun
reflected in swamp water, in
a building's silver skin. "You don't know
what it is, but it's there, like a splinter
in your mind." Blank checks
pile up in the mailbox. Lunchtime:
singers in grey hats, ambling past
the statue from your first dream. Don't look back.

It's the same exact sun you saw as a kid.
I looked it up already. Everything else
starts slithering across your field of vision.
My flight to Bangkok leaves at 5:15.
I pack a pair of scissors in my bag,
a photograph, an apple, Leaves of Grass.


**


Unveiling, that's the stuff. I leave
a glass of wine on the table. Ten days later
it's still a glass of wine. I'm not myself.
A glass of wine the color of nebulae.
"Your men are already dead." We were warned,
elsewhere, and shouldn't blame the objects:
blue bottles, skin, your hand without a ring.
I traveled to Bangkok for business purposes.

A truck could snap his spine in half. Still he'd rage
to whisper the truth in a last gargling breath.
Nothing stops him: insidious drugs or robots run amok.
Out-dreaming the ones who dreamt being into being,
he hopes us along. In Bangkok, I'm trying to say,
I looked in a mirror and nothing looked back.