Thank You for Saying Thank You

by Charles Bernstein

This is a totally

accessible poem.

There is nothing

in this poem

that is in any

way difficult

to understand.

All the words

are simple &

to the point.

There are no new

concepts, no

theories, no

ideas to confuse

you. This poem

has no intellectual

pretensions. It is

purely emotional.

It fully expresses

the feelings of the

author: my feelings,

the person speaking

to you now.

It is all about


Heart to heart.

This poem appreciates

& values you as

a reader. It

celebrates the

triumph of the

human imagination

amidst pitfalls &

calamities. This poem

has 90 lines,

269 words, and

more syllables than

I have time to

count. Each line,

word, & syllable

have been chosen

to convey only the

intended meaning

& nothing more.

This poem abjures

obscurity & enigma.

There is nothing

hidden. A hundred

readers would each

read the poem

in an identical

manner & derive

the same message

from it. This

poem, like all

good poems, tells

a story in a direct

style that never

leaves the reader

guessing. While

at times expressing

bitterness, anger,

resentment, xenophobia,

& hints of racism, its

ultimate mood is

affirmative. It finds

joy even in

those spiteful moments

of life that

it shares with

you. This poem

represents the hope

for a poetry

that doesn’t turn

its back on

the audience, that

doesn’t think it’s

better than the reader,

that is committed

to poetry as a

popular form, like kite

flying and fly

fishing. This poem

belongs to no

school, has no

dogma. It follows

no fashion. It

says just what

it says. It’s


Please also read Ron Silliman’s comments on this poem.