Stern Country

By Gerald Stern b. 1925 Gerald Stern
For sleeplessness, your head face down, your shoulder blades
floating and aspirin as a last resort, when
death is threatening, though lately I have experimented
with numbers and as for dreams I've never been boring
and only once did I bite the arm of a woman
sitting next to me and I should be careful,
she might have a hand-written poem or a memoir
and didn't I bite her arm and aren't we both
poets, though I warn her that I make gurgling
noises and twitch in both legs and make the bed
jump and I am exhausted from looking at poems
and I don't care about her nuts and bolts
and she has to go to the wilderness herself
and fuck the exercises, let her get smashed
by a Mack truck, then she'll be ready to mourn.

Gerald Stern, "Stern Country" from Everything is Burning. Copyright © 2005 by Gerald Stern. Used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Source: Everything is Burning (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2005)

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Poet Gerald Stern b. 1925

Subjects Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

 Gerald  Stern


Gerald Stern has been called an “American original,” “a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic visionary,” and, by his friend Stanley Kunitz, “the wilderness in American poetry.” Over dozens of books, and decades of teaching and activism, Stern has emerged as one of America’s most celebrated and irascible poets. “If I could choose one poem of mine to explain my stance,” Stern told Contemporary Poets, “it would be ‘The One Thing in . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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