Thursday, 2 February 2017

I Need a New Poem

by Jan Zlotnik Schmidt


I need a new poem
One that doesn’t
stick in my craw
expect recompense
Go for the jugular
divide and conquer
Split hairs
Split bodies
Build walls


I need a new poem
One that doesn’t tear flesh like paper
squeeze fingers to throats
or forearms
Blue marked skin
at the crease of the elbow
Streaks like sodden
violet crepe

I need a new poem
One that asks for more

Says to the pregnant
woman at the market
Buy mangoes figs
pears grapes
Taste the sweetness
Let it dissolve on your tongue
For there are no mines
No bombs
No shells
There is only bread

I need a new poem
One that smells of
lavender and bayberry
wild onion
and freshly cut grass

And dreams of itself
as only new poems can.

* * * * *

Jan Zlotnik Schmidt is a SUNY Distinguished Professor of English at SUNY New Paltz where she teaches composition, creative writing, American and Women’s Literature, creative nonfiction, memoir, and Holocaust literature courses.

Her work has been published in many journals including The Cream City Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Home Planet News, Phoebe, Black Buzzard Review, The Chiron Review, Memoir(and), The Westchester Review, and Wind.  Her work also has been nominated for the Pushcart Press Prize Series. She has had two volumes of poetry published by the Edwin Mellen Press (We Speak in Tongues, 1991; She had this memory, 2000).  Recently her chapbook, The Earth Was Still, was published by Finishing Line Press and another, Hieroglyphs of Father-Daughter Time, was published by Word Temple Press.