Gerald Stern


Diogenes for me and sleeping in a bathtub
and stealing the key to the geneology room
close to the fake Praxiteles and ripping
a book up since the wrath had taken me
over the edge again and you understand
as no one else how when the light is lit
I have to do something, I couldn’t hold my arm up
for nothing, I couldn’t stand on the top step
barking—I’ll put it this way, living in a room
two cellars down was good, I got to smell
the earth, I carried a long red wire down
with a bulb attached—after that it never mattered.

Gerald Stern
“Diogenes” is from Save The Last Dance (W. W. Norton, 2008).