An Oldster In A Boater

Gerald Stern

I feel my job as an artist is to disturb the peace. And to disturb it intellectually, linguistically, politically and literally.

Gerald Stern

Still Burning

By Gerald Stern 
 
Me trying to understand say whence
say whither, say what, say me with a pencil walking,
say reading the dictionary, say learning medieval
Latin, reading Spengler, reading Whitehead,
William James I loved him, swimming breaststroke
and thinking for an hour, how did I get here?
Or thinking in line, say the 69 streetcar
or 68 or 67 Swissvale,
that would take me elsewhere, me with a textbook
reading the pre-Socratics, so badly written,
whoever the author was, me on the floor of
the lighted stacks sitting cross-legged,
walking afterwards through the park or sometimes
running across the bridges and up the hills,
sitting down in our tiny dining room,
burning in a certain way, still burning.
 
 
 

Someone commented the other day, “do you think summer will ever feel as free again?”   The comment was in relation to how our lives have changed due to the pandemic and what were formerly foundations of our summertime experiences, like outdoor music festivals, BBQ contests, baseball games, the State Fair, have shifted from sheer enjoyment to something more akin to risks to be managed.  I miss the silliness that is people watching out in the world and how the lives of strangers momentarily collide.   Too often today the dance that is the choreography of my day is now a solo rather than an easy summertime waltz with others. 


Traffic Sonnet

by Edwin Denby

Cool June day, up the avenue
An oldster in a boater steps
Jaunty, at the cross-street, light green
Steps out, truck turns in on him, he stops
Truck halts, the driver don’t crowd him
Midwest highschool kids of his own
He’s spotted the gait, gives pop time
Lets them honk, soberly waves him on
Old man couldn’t move; a PR
Touched the arm, smiled, walked him across
He took up a stride like before
Traffic regained momentum lost
Irish like the President’s dad
We watched him swallowed by the crowd