Thursdays at Readers: Judith Ayn Bernhard & Charles Curtis Blackwell

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series!

Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman.

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library.

This week’s featured poets: Judith Ayn Bernhard & Charles Curtis Blackwell  

Photo - Judy in ParisJudith Ayn Bernhard is a former Berlitz School of Languages instructor and translator. She is a founding member and past chair of the Marin Poetry Center and a current member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Byron Spooner, where she teaches writing and occasionally gives public readings of her work.




Hello, Beautiful
By Judith Ayn Bernhard

At six eighteen on a workday morning,
he brings me a big cup of weak tea.
It’s just the way I’ve learned to like it:
not too dark and a little too sweet.

He says, “Hello, Beautiful,” and so,
no matter what I was reading in the
insomniac night or even if I’m hung
over, I always wake up with a laugh.

I think then of the middle-aged Bogart
calling the barely-out-of-her-teens
Bacall, “Beautiful” in the movie where
she asks him if he knows how to whistle.

It’s no wonder he went for her with
those legs, that sly smile and a voice
made up of one part grapefruit juice
and two parts watered down honey.

But why the man with the cup of tea
goes for me, calls me, “Beautiful” at
an ungodly hour and seems to mean
it, remains a bit of a mystery to me.

Even long ago when we were younger
and I still looked fresh, I told him I
thought he could do better. I advised
him to find a girl with fewer miles on her.

He was determined to have his way then
and so he has remained through these
many years and the words “in sickness
and in health” don’t even begin to cover it.

As to why Bacall went for a short old guy
who must have always smelled of cigarette
smoke, that’s easy. No woman can resist a
man who addresses her as “Beautiful.”


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