Saturday Nov 18

FGE - Poetry October 2009

Ellen Bass - Poetry

Ellen-Bass Ellen Bass's poetry books include The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press), named a Notable Book of 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. Her poems have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review and many other journals. Her non-fiction books include The Courage to Heal  and Free Your Mind. She teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University and at conferences and retreats nationally and internationally. www.ellenbass.com
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 Late October Afternoon
  
Things go on. Somewhere
in the city a man stirs a root soup,
mashing garlic with the flat of his knife,
chopping the clove into bits.
Somewhere a woman smocks
the bodice of a blue dress.
She takes a drag of her Newport Light,
looks out the window over the rooftops.
 
Outside your doorway, a patch
of weedy grass springs up
from the crust of crumpled earth.
And beyond that, the coast,
tongued by the sea, rock pulled down
to the heaving water—
greenstone, blueschist.
Sun saturates the sky, so you can't see
where you are--flung out
on the edge of a minor arm, a spur
of one spiraling galaxy—
blinded by the light.

 

Jason Schneiderman - Poetry

Jason-Schneiderman Jason Schneiderman is the author of Sublimation Point, a Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, Poetry London, Grand Street, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Story Quarterly, and Tin House. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center, and The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America in 2004. A graduate of the MFA program at NYU, he is currently completing his doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
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Elegy IX (missing you)
  
I thought I’d find you here, that I’d finish these poems
and you would stand out as clear as the day. As bright
as the moon. I hate those poets who tell you that
they love, but never make clear who they love. 
My mother’s eyes are nothing like the sun. How do I
miss my mother? Let me count the ways. So where
are you? I couldn’t believe you let yourself
be filmed for the video they showed at your tribute,
and I wanted to tell everyone, that’s only her voice
when she’s nervous, that’s only her face when she
has to be on display and she doesn’t like it. But at least
you were there. Everyone knows you can’t write
your way out of grief. Everyone knows that grief
never turns into anything but grief, and OK, I can grieve
you forever. But I wanted you here, in the middle
of my book. Not a complaint about what I lost
or what it feels like to lose it. But you. Your smile. 
Your denim dress.
 
 
A Story about Writing
  
After the younger writer had refused the older writer,
it seemed to the younger writer that both the proposition
and the refusal were rather embarrassing events
that ought not be retold, and the younger writer, with
all good intentions, decided to tell no one, particularly
because the younger writer had a rather low opinion
of the older writer for having found the younger writer
appealing in the first place, and secretly, the younger writer
feared that having refused the older writer was actually
a sign of prudery, bourgeois morality, and overall
non-bohemian-boringness-and-boorishness. One night,
many years later, the younger writer became very drunk
and told some other same-age-writers about the advance
of the older writer and the resulting refusal. The younger
writer, discreet in indiscretion, swore the other writers
to secrecy, but on hearing the confession, they laughed,
as almost all of them had also been propositioned
by the older writer in question, and while some had
said yes and some had said no, none of them felt
that the story had anything close to the gravity that
the younger writer felt it did. Realizing that the great secret
was in fact of no weight, the distraught younger writer
began to cry. When the same-age-writers asked about the tears,
the younger writer revealed how terrible it was to have
a secret of no importance, to which his same-age-writer
friends said, Don't cry, Young Writer, This story
makes us love you more than ever.