The woman says “do not eclipse my pain with your own”

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

a talk between a Transformer, the Forever Gwen Brooks generator, and myself

Shake the rattles of our jazz.

There’s lies in the kitchen too, and they
are how bright.

Twittering, we run run each other,
try on expensive cabinets and hats.

Rough light is in this time.
Withered is the trencher,
so we make a place for mothers
in the house. Twinkle at the time
a clock strikes, a certain time of day,

and I see the chime of the bells,
listen to their whiteblue sound.

Knowing what I want is a complex work.

Houses with flowers that bloom in the air
are good to our heads.
A wet man is a good thing to have on.

These chimes are the chimes of our souls,
these stomach-churning sods.

I lay out a creed of roses and white candles.
I lay out a creed of wolves and bend over
the rusty shant’s.

I have visions of honey
in my eyes.

Now I have the time to know all what I want,
& my place is set in the hall.


I ask the AI what is at the edge of the universe

                                              a talk with Transformer

“First, let’s look at entropy. The edge
of the universe is like the moon of this world.”

I ask the AI about the next world to appear
and AI says “let’s look at entropy.”

So I ask the AI about its ability to see into the past
world, into the first busses that crossed the line.

AI reminds me that the past world
didn’t become this world, where there isn’t

police reform or a single candidate who can list
all the names mothers sing at night. The AI

has the perfect answer to what kind of world this is:

“This world is in the future and the world
around you is the past but it looks like a place

you have not come to before.” The other side
of the future world is just another future. I ask

the AI what future lies ahead and AI says
“the first future is a black hole full of zombies,

the second has a bunch of crazy weird creatures
and the sixth is all aliens. Nothing is yet known

about the third and the fourth.” To every
question AI gives me a list of impossible

goals: Medicare for all! Reparations for
you-know-who! Body cameras switched on

24/7! Of course, the AI knows which players
are disadvantaged, whose records should be

expunged and who deserves to vote. No problem,
AI tells me, no problem. It is not motivated to lie.

But dying is a specific outcome of the world’s game.
I ask the AI what a Black solution would be.

“One that does not kill the player.”


Companion Money

                                a talk between the Forever Gwen Brooks generator, and myself

My young young foot
settles down the empty
outline of my neck.

Time is expensive to the mind, brain,
that offending engine crunching
signals into selfhood.

Zoom in on me: a lemon
yelling down the rose-red street

like every white girl in the movie
about the white girl
getting the wrong love

from the right white man.
Spoonfuls of it heaped on
in emails, ringtones.

Outside this life promises split
down the twittering street.
I put the kitchen back on its shelf,
reserve the right to black.

Christmas portrait with no child but
my cats in all available light.
Today I cannot bear my barren

legend. I cry across the crossing
light, cry across my


Yet Another Ending of Mine

No way I am still this loss and you another wrong man bringing blood to the top of my skin.

Yes I put a galleon in a bottle at the top of my neck.

Where my head was can act the metaphor for how I never understood what to do

with this woman’s body of mine,

if it was meant to be so brown and thick and hard. I’ve since birthed rooms of whole clouds,
assembled a phantom cat from the shed hair of an embodied cat.

Yes I fell out of my mother and she’s been searching the seas for me since.

Once a box of matches exploded in my face. Once I let a man’s penis inside because I was bored and then I was bored ever after.

I learned to sober up on the cheap, kept my ashes in plain sight.

Eventually time escapes from all deeds but not this, not this.