Arts & Culture

Poem: Sailor at Nostrand and Bedford

Sailor at Nostrand and Bedford I. If you think that what I want is to touch that sailor, to pull his liquid body from those polyester pants, you’d be wrong.  Look at him, all amble and shucks, his bright white … Read More

By / May 22, 2009


Sailor at Nostrand and Bedford I. If you think that what I want is to touch that sailor, to pull his liquid body from those polyester pants, you’d be wrong.  Look at him, all amble and shucks, his bright white cap shading the acne scars that linger on his barely post- adolescent cheeks.  Was there a time that I wanted to touch every beautiful man that lived in this world?  If there was, it has passed.  Now, I want none of that moment where he discovers what his body can do-what it is his tongue will fit, where it is he wants a tongue.  Does it mean that I have left the world?  I am happy for him, for his beauty, hopeful that he will know what do with it, that it will get him what he wants before it fades, that he will learn just how much the uniform enhances it, just how much he can get with it.  And from whom.  But not me.  I’m happy for him abstractly, the way I weep for the ugly children, the way I hope everyone can find a way in this world, but not in the specific.  I have no desire to learn his name, to learn his body, to learn his breathing or his rhythms. II. There was a sailor, once. What we wanted was the same
and each other was the last place we’d looked.  Don’t think I always want a better medication. Don’t think I’ll pay the same price. 

Jason Schneiderman is the author of Sublimation Point, a Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books.  His poems and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Best American Poetry, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Poetry London, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet.  He has received fellowships from The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Yaddo, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.  The recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, he is currently completing his doctorate at the Graduate Center of CUNY. 

Images from Shira Rachel Apple‘s 2006 installation Huppah