self-portraitF. J. Bergmann
is living in Wisconsin for the 4th or 5th time. She is to blame for this entire website, among other iniquities. She considers herself primarily a visual artist, which helps to prevent writer's block. In a previous life, she spent all of her time working with horses. Her hairstyle is deceptive.

She reads at spoken word venues, and has been published in Cannibal, Malleable Jangle (AU), Margie, nth position (UK), Pavement Saw, Realpoetik, and at under the nom de plume Easter Cathay, and has a poem included in 180 More (Random House 2005), edited by Billy Collins. She has translated French surrealist poets, including Alain Bosquet. Also, see Lace. Her favorite authors all write speculative fiction. Her hobbies encompass narcolepsy, retrophrenology and Fainting in Coils. She has her very own OED!

See her sporadic blog at Disorient Express, where you can enjoy [sic] her rants on Poetic Policy and Practice. And she's having her 15 min. at and More of her dubious acheivements may be perused at, where you can read more poems, and order her books, including her latest, Constellation of the Dragonfly (Plan B Press 2008).

Gender Characteristics

so we had a few drinks
and I was telling him stuff about
my childhood and after a while he said
that sounds like penis envy to me did you
ever wish you had a penis and I said no
but I wish I had an ovipositor so I could
parasitize my enemies and infest them
with my larvae and he decided
to sit somewhere else
in a different bar.

"Gender Characteristics" appeared in Pavement Saw #7
2000 F.J. Bergmann

•   •   •   •   •


Hoping to entice things with feathers,
we constructed many types of feeders,
the ones the squirrels could climb,
equipped with little remote-control guillotines,
and the ones that nothing could climb.

We tried all the commercial varieties of seed
and then began to experiment with our own
mixtures of fern seed, seed money, and dragon's teeth.
When we hit on the right combination
after n(n - 1) attempts,

over a winter of sleepless nights,
they began to crystallize out of the frosty air,
to delicately cock their heads and dilate their pupils
and blink rapidly at the pungent fumes
emanating from the bait.

After they had stopped struggling and finally
hung upside down, stunned and somnolent,
we carefully detached their little claws from the lime
and inserted them at the beginning of each chapter
in the family Book of shadows,

and when their plumage had compressed
and flattened to transparent thinness
we mounted them on white velvet,
behind bulletproof glass, in silvergilt frames
with a small brass plaque engraved with

a description of what each one had once
intended to become.

"Volition" appeared in Wind #87
2000 F.J. Bergmann


The lake is smooth and turquoise as a Formica
plastic countertop—that color they called aqua
in the sixties, though it looked nothing like water
until now.

Even in nature the color seems unnatural, startling:
aquarium-gravel cyan of greenbrier berries,
ethereal sky manifesting on the hydrangeas,
the nobody’s-home aquamarine eyes
of a spotted horse.

Everything shall be that cerulean hue
when I have my way: skin, string, condoms,
cement, lawns, leopards’ lustrous pelts as blue
as the clouded flesh of air.

All the objects will align themselves neatly
on a non-reproducible azure grid,
pale intentions and paradigms
as abscissa and ordinate vanishing into
an ordered, tenuous future.

Intangibles will melt like blue moon ice cream
into a sticky, contiguous layer, the same thickness
for everyone, syrup smoothed by a small child
until the surface is perfectly even,
even though she will not share.

That child has eyes the color of the lake and she
is not, was never, me..

"Vista" appeared in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Museletter
2002 F.J. Bergmann