A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by
Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.
Two Poems by Stuart Friebert
WHAT’S FOR DINNER? WILDERNESS?
large red signs along Washington’s 101 read,
protesting the expansion of a national park.
Even morons strung out on stuff will regain
consciousness by the third day, beg for food.
Some of us resort to scornful laughter, even
cynical abuse at such lunacy, which is no
match for the zeal of the single-minded, who
propagate like nettles in this land of the free.
I admit to being preoccupied with my own
affairs to do more than curse, too cowardly
even to stop, at least try to deface a sign or
two: hah, as if that’d even make me sadder.
At a lookout’s roadhouse I sample a few local
brews, but can’t even cry in them. If you’re an
experienced doctor, I’m an experienced patient,
someone says somewhere in Dostoevsky, then
drinks a glass to the end of the affair. “Money
puts everything right,” the guy next to me mutters.
We look at each other till we both burp. He’s from
another country, it’s obvious when he speaks up:
“We just cut down every damn tree we need to
sell, end of discussion!” He’d touch you to your
very soul if he just looked at you, sweetly baby-
faced. “Go, child”, I whisper, help him to the door.
“BUSTER” (& PETER)
Courtesy of Houdini, who said,
“That was a real buster!” when
young Keaton fell down a flight
of stairs. Also a stage-term for
a spectacular pratfall, of which
Brecht was a particular fan who
wrote one into every production
he could, though Peter Lorre said,
Not one in “M” please! Then all
grew dark and he staggered off
to lurk in more shadows till his
blood caught fire. Decline was
no longer out of the question:
witness what they did to him in
Hollywood, where he’d fled…
Brecht’s greatest actor become
a sort of clown to Greenstreet’s
menacing whimsies. Even Buster’s
after-hours companionship couldn’t
save Peter from a short life, whose
melancholy piggy-backed on Buster’s
after too many bottles of wine. “I must
try the world again,” one or the other
would mumble, then give into haunting
memories of troubled early days. No use
now of spoiling our lives thinking of them.
Stuart Friebert published three books in 2014: his 13th book of poems, "Floating Heart" (Pinyon Publishing), his 10th translation volume, "Puppets in the Wind: Selected Poems by Karl Krolow" (Bitter Oleander Press) and "Stomach of the Soul, Selected Poems of Sylva Fischerova" (in cotranslations with the author & A.J. Hauner/Calypso Editions.) Black Mt Press will publish his story collection, "The Language of the Enemy," in 2015; Tiger Bark Press has just published BE QUIET: Selected Poems by
Kuno Raeber, in his translations and Iris Press has just published ON
THE BOTTOM, his new book of poems.
His work appears several times in Offcourse.