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


For E. 8/30/83

Once, when the pain was blinding,

You held me tight.

I could see the hope that dangled from

The thread of a dream kept warm in your pocket.

Cold emptiness is enveloping me again.


I run in circles trying to find you;

I lose more and more of myself

In a frantic attempt to

Hang onto the hope you gave me.


There is no such thing as hope after all.

It was just your love that protected me from myself.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

East Brunswick, NJ



note: I wrote this poem at age 18