F. J. Bergmann
W5679 State Road 60
Poynette, WI 53955
Jeannie Bergmann writes speculative fiction and is a web designer and artist. She maintains madpoetry.org, a local poetry website, as well as the WFoP site, bookthatpoet.com, and others. Her personal site is fibitz.com. She also offers a poetry submission service, PoemFactotum.com. She has had poems in the Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, Rosebud, Southern Poetry Review, Tattoo Highway, and Weird Tales. Her Flash translation "Lace" was shown at the 2002 Electronic Literature Symposium. In 2008 she won the Science Fiction Poetry Association Rhysling Award for the Short Poem, and in 2010 she won Heartland Review’s Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize. She is the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.
ut of the Black Forest, Centennial Press, illustrations by Kelli Hoppmann, 2012; $8.00
“Yelllow Woods,” letterpress broadside, 2010; $5.00
Constellation of the Dragonfly, Plan B Press, 2008; $13.00
Aqua Regia, Parallel Press, 2007; $10.00
Steaming A Head, chapbook, 2004; $6.00
Sauce Robert, co-winner of 2003 Pavement Saw Press chapbook contest; $6.00
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My neighbor said he thought he’d build a wall; wanted to know if I’d go halves on it. I asked him what he was going to make it out of and he said “Words,” and I said I’d help him out as much as I could. I asked him how high he was going to make it and he said “High.”
He started out with long, Latinate words, at least five syllables, carefully staggering the joints, but he ran out of his own almost right away, so I had to give up a lot of mine. He tried to maintain a structured form, but soon it degenerated into a random jumble, mostly nouns and verbs—he was saving the adjectives to decorate it when it was finished, he said, stacking them neatly against the porch. The articles and conjunctions kept falling out and accumulated in forlorn drifts at its base.
He worked on it every evening, after coming home from his regular job, until night fell, late into the autumn. Joggers would occasionally stop to offer advice and put in a word or two. It spread like a blackthorn hedge above its massive foundation, tangling tightly as the barbed serifs hooked together. The wind whistled through the small openings of the a’s and e’s as the larger counters of the o’s, b’s, d’s, p’s, and q’s resonated at a lower pitch. He placed the sharpest words along the top of the wall. “Expect trouble,” he said.
During the winter, the ascenders and descenders began to distort and twine around letters in adjoining words. Just before the solstice, I hung the most ornate plural nouns and third-person-singular verbs I could find on the north side of the wall. Dangling from each terminal s, they swung like bells, chiming as the snows fell. That spring, suffixes sprouted from the side that faced the sun.
Winner of 2004 Pauline Ellis Prose Poetry Prize
published in Wisconsin Academy Review Vol. 50 #4
First the atlas began to fret, and wheedled in a low voice. Then one
of the Lonely Planet books egged on the National Geographics
until they ruffled their pages in hysteria and the Michelin Guides
started slapping their covers rhythmically against the bookends.
When the Club Med brochures folded themselves into airfoils
and began dive-bombing us, we made a break for the carport,
dragging our hastily-packed luggage behind us, a litter
of outdated and dilapidated maps snapping at our heels.
We found that all roads lead to more roads, with similar
billboards. We drive all day long. Each evening
we arrive at a different city before its gates close
and rent a room filled with clear water.
The video camera runs all night, and prepares
a nutritious breakfast. If a museum opens early,
we spend the morning gliding from room
to room, leaving nothing as we found it.
Even the guards have uniforms of a different hue
when we are finished with them, and all the visitors
have come to believe that Surrealism is the manifesto
of a concealed desire for economic instability and wear
faint greenish halos which they will never see.
Winner of 2003 Mary Roberts Rinehart National Poetry Award
published on Blue Fifth Review Summer 2003