Benjamin Friedlander

Six Poems from "One Hundred Etudes"


AT THE
INDOOR TRACK, IN
WINTER

For Constantine Cavafy

Desire recedes
Like a hairline.
Revealing naked power
¾

An overweight gent
About fifty-five
With a hard-

On in the
Shower.


REVOLUTIONARY PROGRAM

"The
Answer very often

Is to add,
In the right
Place, the simple

Word 'not'"—Laura
Riding

If the

Death of the
Author requires an
Execution of intention,

Then the ghost
Of meaning will
Assume the form

Of aimless scribble¾
Or not.


LINES FOR
A FORTUNE COOKIE

For Heiner Müller

He who has
Something in his
Grimace can face

The grim reasoning
Of those who
Have nothing but

Place.


LETTER
TO OSIP MANDELSTAM

After Yusef Komunyakaa

Your voice is

Dust, and rubles
Never slake mere
Thirst. But who

Rhymes "pain" for
"Loaf of bread"?
No revolution ever

Caught my finger
In history’s cardoor,
But I hear

Your key turn
In my head.
I read Tristia

And think of
Your Italy to
Come to myself.

Internecine squabble in
The writers’ union.
Believe this, comrade:

We’re electricity in
A barbed wire
Fence, no more

Than a jolt
Of sense. Keep
Walking, move your

Lips, old memorizer
And reciter, social
Parasite and European.

You knew Judaic
Chaos and Armenia’s
Ancient borders. Guards

Clean their rifles.
Something, perhaps the
Scent of peace,

Makes them pause.


COMMENCEMENT SPEECH

For
The electoral college

When leaves turn
Color and run
In the wash

And wear out
The welcome of
Spring, autumn bloodies

And cuts to
A stump the
Speech-impaired evergreen

King.


THE HOLOCAUST FAQ

For Jerome Rothenberg

Question: How much
Blame should America
Receive for not

Doing more to
Stop the Holocaust?
Question: I am

A survivor "searching
My identity." What
If I do

Not know my
"Last name" or
"First name"? Question:

Why did Hitler
Freak out and
Want to destroy

The Jews? Was
Hitler's dad also
His uncle? Question:

But isn't that
Limiting, to always
Come back blonde?

Answer: But these
Stories of Jewish
Souls in gentile

Bodies are only
A small minority
Of the holocaust

Quilt. Answer: As
Time passes, memory
Fades. But if

We go no
Deeper than evil
"Atrocity," our whole

Accomplishment will be
But the second
Book in the

Deathlands Saga. Answer:
A very rare
DVD of the

Cult gore classic,
Remastered, wide screen,
Fully uncut and

Best of all¾
Our corporate partners
Affirm their commitment

To battling hatred.
Answer: In association
With Turner Original

Productions we tested
"Der ewige Jude"
On a sample

Of 1200 Danish
High-school students
In the age

Between 16 and
19, by means
Of a questionnaire

Consisting of 25
Questions, and prepared
According to the

Best sociological standards.
Answer: All payments
To be made

In money order
Form only. No
Checks!!! I have

Been getting burned
From checks lately.
Answer: The Holy

Bible makes it
Clear that revelations
Of forced conversions

Of Catholic clergy
As concentration camp
Commanders show slight

Edge wear. Answer:
Chanukah. Answer: Documented
With names, dates,

Pictures and eyewitness
Testimony, these lies
Keep hope and

Humor alive among
The ghetto inhabitants.
New: A Survivor's

Prayer. Just added:
Analysis Of The
Limits Of Forgiveness:

10 Essays. What
Happens when you
Detonate a spherical

Metal honeycomb over
Five hundred miles
Wide?
Massacra Final

Holocaust LP with
Original insert guides
You through simulations

That some teachers
Use to "recreate"
Certain aspects of

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