Un-Vacation Images



At Sunset Beach, the circle of life

involves using smaller fish as bait

I run across the bridge at Crow Creek

alligator and I warily disconnect gaze

Bale of turtles slips beneath surface of mossy pond

evades my capture of their souls on film


Herons alight, escape this ancient curse

I don’t understand but probably should

unease suffuses days

unable to force myself to relax

toss and fret unremembered nightmares

sweaty and chilled by daybreak


suffocating malaise of relentless awake

I wonder what the predators know


Shari Elizabeth Berk

Goldsboro, NC

August 10, 2014



The more we have, the less we know

Mom rescues discarded photos, lists,

slips of paper, from the garbage

precious to her in that indiscernible way

that gives a daughter pause

to question balance between

generation gap and dementia.

Who decides what is invaluable?

Worth keeping for an undefined posterity

we grow older, less important

every trinket more meaningless

could I light a match to material things

find myself in the ashes?


Shari Elizabeth Berk

Goldsboro, NC

August 10, 2014


Picture Purchase – at Tanger Outlets, North Myrtle Beach, SC

Beach breaths, morning coffee at eleven

brunch mixes fresh peach and granola

nightmares woke me at three

the day already too long

Swallow back tears that decry

summer sunshine clouded by deep sighs

walk the pier, shake sadness

waves follow thunderstorm

cars hurl rain from treads the next lane over

I wonder how others banish nameless pain

wander outlet malls in search

of the exact purchase to assuage emptiness

picture perfection in designer things

snapshot away from content

If I capture the correct image on my camera

will my attitude clear with the rainbow?


Shari Elizabeth Berk

July 17, 2014

Calabash, NC


The End of the Innocence

Scorpion comes to mind

your insincerity belies hypocrisy

not deliberately unkind

curiously oblivious, unable to see

chaos wrought by ambiguity

Love and trust lost

boundaries defined

lines of communication crossed

you were never mine to find.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

June 29, 2014

Goldsboro, NC


Black Forest Brunch


Fiesta colored tumblers set on table

filled with sangria and white zinfandel

centerpiece of rosemary, thyme and garlic flowers

nose dived by bees. Muse-guided gourmet inspiration

friendly repast of home made delights

cups of Ajo Blanco almond soup punctuated with balsamic vinaigrette

counterpoint to Andalusian gazpacho topped with fresh croutons

palette pleased by rich cheese and red tomato pie

tossed salad drizzled with parmesan dressing

thick slices of warm home-made bread

green grapes and chocolate chip cookies for dessert

Breezy day brings perfect breaths of spring

placid reverie gazing up from picnic blanket

as hawk and kestrel soar above carpet of black walnut trees

sun shines beyond Divinity

Side conversations accompany walks across the farm

chats uninterrupted by high-pitched bird calls,

under the watchful gaze of the loyal family hound

Being full is a minor inconvenience

as the sun goes down, the tone devolves to light debauchery

camaraderie and fine wine combine to satiate a sunny Sunday


Shari Elizabeth Berk/ June 2, 2014/Goldsboro, NC




Born from Ukrainian peasant stock

court jester, musician to the Fortunoffs

Tailor joined seamstress in House of Ceil Chapman

begat a teacher who begat a wordsmith

orphaned child fashioned career and family

faded tapestry my lineage.


His mischievous cruelty knitted by years of sharp ridicule

sadness saturated humor

Girded by designer labels

mismatched nap, warped love, honor, absolution

True mastery eluded, shamed decades mourned

unravelled tatters mended.


Ambivalent memories surge woven imperfections

Scattered emotions checked, left like dressmaker patterns

stacked on shelves in particleboard closet.

His life proximal to greatness

mine, a patchwork of mended turmoil

adapted for the now.


Asked for his special girl the day before he died

I never came.


Shari Elizabeth Berk/ May 12, 2014