Wednesday, April 8, 2015

the poem "Genesis" by Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein)

"Genesis" appeared in Caliban Online #4 (2o11). The online Caliban is a resurrected version of Larry Smith's imaginative hard-copy Caliban magazine of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. It in many ways was a successor to kayak, the groundbreaking magazine edited by George Hitchcock, who was one of my professors at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Caliban went on to publish a range of esteemed, exploratory writers ( Now, Caliban Online describes itself as" an internationally recognized literary and arts magazine featuring avant-garde writing" and other media, notably visual art. I'm honored to have had a number of poems in three different issues.

This one belongs to a group of my poems exploring Biblical themes and characters. Mild warning: it's not quite "safe for work." 


Face down on the green and brown bed
I put my hand under my pelvis
and feel the bone plowing a little, like a plow into the earth.

I can’t redo the Garden of Eden,
can’t recreate the errors, the judgment, the rows of plants and herbs,
the animals mutely watching God’s imposter

“the Lord” consign man and woman to post and field.
But I feel the original bone tip
meeting the earth through my palm’s flesh.

The bone wants to fuck in sorrow and rage
as if to plow up earth’s punishment like sod and copper.
And my hand nuzzles and takes

the heated plowing from my body.
And the plowing is so strong I smell the wet earth,
the parted moist ground,

the mist rising from where Adam’s old plow entered,
melting into manna and gold honey in my hand.
And as I close my eyes to the brown and green bed

and the sweat of my brow, I see the creamy, withered pages
of the false Lord’s creation
ignite and burn above my head.

The beings who sang at the true creation of the world
stand witness again,
their faces recalling the face of the God

who hovered over the waters.
I come into my hand
and breathe out a mist

which rests on my face,
my own face,
like God’s, the one I know.

copyright 2011 Lisa Bernstein (aka Lisa B)


  1. I really enjoyed the way you married the Biblical and erotic content here, and your bold use of the character of God, I, and "the Lord."

  2. A thought provoking poem with strong images and a powerful ending.


Thanks for adding your voice!