Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bill Berkson Dream

Bill Berkson Dream

I’m at the Four Seasons for a quick solitary lunch, sitting at the bar. After a moment or two, I notice Bill Berkson sitting diagonally from where I am, but he doesn’t see me. He’s wearing a very expensive medium grey suit, and his hair is sculpted onto his head. He’s talking to another man, a client, and I realize he (Bill, in his other life) must be a stockbroker. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Turning sideways, I can just hear scraps of his conversation. “The residuals will knock your sox off,” says Bill, and “you wouldn’t even be here if your weren’t.” Bill sips a pink cocktail, then notices me watching. He winks, not wanting to interrupt his meeting, and motions slightly with his head towards the door. A few minutes later, I see him get up and give me another confirming look. He heads for the door, and I follow a safe distance behind. Out on the street, he shakes his head as if waking up from a daydream. “Hey, man, whatcha’ doing here?” “Not much. What was that, a ‘power lunch’?” “Nah, just something I needed to tie up . . . Hey, I’ve got to run, so let’s get together later.” Suddenly, Bill pulls his jacket lapels apart, and in a single motion, his whole outfit falls away, revealing a superhero get-up with black tights, a white T-shirt with big blue "BB" capitals in the middle. I never suspected how muscular he is. “Alright, I’m off, brother,” he adds, as he bounds away, taking 20 foot leaps down the street. I stare after him in disbelief, with mixed feelings of envy and barely suppressed admiration.


Kirby Olson said...

I saw him speak at a memorial reading for Jim Carroll about three years ago at the church in the lower East Side one very snowy evening in February. He seemed to still have his fashion sense, and he spoke well.

sheila said...

sometimes he wears a kind of hat. difficult to describe but it sits on top of his head. it looks spectacular.

Curtis Faville said...


The post is a dream.

It isn't intended to be a portrait, but a fantasy.

I knew Bill in the 1970's, and we've kept in distant touch over the years.

There's another Berkson fantasy in Larry Fagin's collected poems--along the same lines.

Check it out.