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AC Benus

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About AC Benus

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  • Age in Years
    47
  • Gender
    Male
  • Sexuality
    Gay
  • Location
    San Francisco
  • Interests
    Love, cooking, history, classical writings, Queer politics, chatting with friends, finding more in common with everyone than I thought possible, architecture, design, dogs, Airedales

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  1. Jeff Friedman is a contemporary poet whose work is very poorly represented on the internet. I'd like to share the following poem and hopefully spread a little more interest in his work on the web.

     

    Finding the Action

    (this Elegy provides a rare emotional snapshot

    of same-sex love from the straight side)

     

    At Schneithorst’s you

    tried to pick up

    the car hop, a short

    blond-haired girl

    with buck teeth.

    She ignored your comments

    and hooked the tray

    with our fries and shakes

    to the window.

    “Look at that—”

    You rose up and

    pointed at a girl

    in a miniskirt

    climbing out of the back

    seat of a Mustang.

    We could see the red

    polka dots

    on her panties

    and the backs of her

    long golden legs.

    I put my hand

    on your shoulder

    and pulled you back.

    “I want to get

    Laid real bad,”

    you said.

     

    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?

     

    Winding through

    the narrow lanes

    and curvy roads

    past long rows

    of neatly trimmed

    hedges, stone

    statues, timed

    sprinklers flinging

    hard drops

    of water toward

    the sloping edges

    of lawn, we drove

    to the Holmes’ house,

    but Nan’s windows

    were dark. “No action

    here,” I said.

     

    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?

     

    At the Jewel Box

    in Forest Park

    we sat in the car

    with the doors open

    and finished the last

    of a bottle of Sloe Gin,

    stolen from your

    father’s liquor cabinet.

    “Have you ever had

    a really good

    blow job?”

    I was almost afraid

    to look at you, afraid

    to stare into the shining

    wedge of your face.

    “I can give you

    a blow job,” you said,

    “that will send you through

    the roof of the car.”

     

           How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?

     

    I thought of the exotic

    flowers behind the glass

    walls, releasing

    their perfumes to the dark,

    of how the fragrant scents

    grow so potent

    they make a new

    kind of air,

    thick with sweetness;

    of how jewels form

    on the palms of the fibrous

    green leaves

    that sparkle

    only a moment

    before they burst.

     

    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    or stopped us from growing apart?

     

    Under the thick canopy

    of the sycamores, their

    trunks lit

    by a milky flame,

    I looked at your stained

    lips, your palms

    opening and closing.

    Then I shoved the clutch

    Into gear and patched out

    on the tarry road,

    and sticking my head out

    the window, laughed

    into the warm buggy

    wind rushing into

    my eyes and mouth.

     

    How could I have prevented you

    from saying what you felt,

    and stopped us from growing apart.

    Jeff Friedman,

    1997

     

     


    “Finding the Action” Jeff Friedman is subtitled: “For G.C., who died of AIDS),” and appears in Taking Down the Angel, Poems, Pittsburgh 2003, ps. 79-82  

     

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. AC Benus

      AC Benus

       

      spacer.png

      The Jewel Box arboretum in Forest Park, Saint Louis

       

    3. Daddydavek

      Daddydavek

      I did.. Thank-you!

      Sloe gin...haven't heard a reference to that in years. By the way Schneidhorst's closed within the past eight months or so.

    4. Parker Owens

      Parker Owens

      Thanks for sharing Friedman’s poem with us all.

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