The Name

By Gerald Stern b. 1925 Gerald Stern
Having outlived Allen I am the one who
has to suffer New York all by myself and
eat my soup alone in Poland although
sometimes I sit with Linda he met in Berkeley
or San Francisco when he met Jack, the bread
just coarse enough, the noodles soft but not
thin and wasted, and not too salty the way the
Chinese further down sometimes make them, the
name still on my mind whatever the reason for
mystery, or avoidance, though rat Netanyahu
and pig that swings from a needle or lives in some
huge incubator, they do darkness where there
was light, the name hates them, the name
in hiding, the name with a beard, and Linda she
loves the name though she invokes her Christ
as Jack her lover and tormentor did and
taught her to do though it is too easy, that,
it troubles me but what can I say, what should I
say while we walk north on the right hand side,
past the pork store and the hardware store, me lecturing
on Logos (my God) and what not Hebrews and Greeks
where Allen and I once kissed, Jack in the sun now.

Source: Poetry (October 2011).

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