Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gerald Stern! Two from Save the Last Dance


Sometimes he is mustard and sometimes blue,
sometimes it is slicing and cutting and sometimes
it's only rain that brings him to the surface
and he does it to keep the robin company,
and there is a heavy smell for those who live too
close to the earth and if there is no brain
or if it is dispersed and thence divided
he is only eaten the more and isn't it
a joy that there is no light and he has to look
elsewhere for his doom and his nostalgia.


He had more than one white shirt
and two pairs of pants instead of one,
and once in New York he crawled inside a taxi
for diabetes was making him weak,
and when he reached the corner of Eighth and Bowery
he slid into a corner for his friends
were everywhere, and though he hated the meter
he also hated the conversation in Urdu
the driver was having with his wife or daughter,
for he wanted some silence, or maybe he wanted
a little attention for all that money and not
to be ignored this way; and when the cab
stopped to let him off he suffered the new
trick of evening it off to the highest dollar
and felt halfway justified in stiffing him
but gave him two thin bills though the rigid
security wall made it impossible
to leave with grace, and this is how he entered
the open space beside the School of the Arts
and struggled for understanding in front of the pillars
downstairs Abe Lincoln himself had once ignited.

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