If this doesn't make you love Charles Berstein...

a poem by Charles Bernstein, presented at the In(ter)ventions conference in Banff, February 2010, and first published in West Coast LINE.

You Never Looked So Simulating

The next stop was Edmonton
where I got lost in the Fantasyland
Mall on the way to one of the demi–
keynotes at the International Association
for Philosophy and Literature
“Thinking Between Poetry &
Philosophy” con­ven­tion & so missed
most of the lec­ture on the “The Ineluctable
Split of Poetry’s Unsayable Name: Reading
Derrida through Nietzsche’s Unknowable
Answer to Celan’s Joyce (A Response to
Benjamin).” Many of the con­ven­tion­eers
noted that the “Bourbon Street” food
mall was a per­fect exam­ple of “sim­u­la­tion” —
a view I have trou­ble under­stand­ing
(not unusual for me)
since the patrons of the food court
seem to enjoy the fact that
“Bourbon Street” is ineluctably in
the West Edmonton Mall & the design­ers
of the street seemed to go
out of their way to empha­size this fact,
mak­ing it look like a plas­ter cast
sketch of a pic­ture of a New Orleans street
& not like the “real thing” at
all; the only ones fooled were
we con­ven­tion­eers hav­ing our
din­ner as we chat­ted about the
break­down of real­ity and sim­u­lacra
(or simu­soy for the lac­tose
intol­er­ant). & talk about authen­ti­cally
local as you might, the Buffalo
wings on Bourbon Street
in the West Edmonton Mall
never tasted so real
or would have. I had trout.

I have wanted to get a copy of All the Whiskey in Heaven - now I guess I'll have to.
Thanks to Ron Silliman for the link here. Photo and an interview with Bernstein here.


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