You who tended dead animals knew before reaping
the melons were rotten,
Beechwood Boulevard became a place to escape,
but still you return to your
beautiful filthy Pittsburgh*
where the song kept on playing
even when they were dying.
You remember the dancing
and cry out for a merciful God,
Your skin keeps the sound of the drum*.
In that tiny living room you were
somehow immune to Dachau,
but now, begging remembering,
it follows you to New Jersey
where you contemplate spirits,
keep a passel of cats and celebrate schmaltz,
You say memory is not a part
of our culture…That everything’s throw-away now
is more than a question of style,
Hillman remembers you, Jerry,
always keeping you close,
It’s something called loyalty.
written after Gerald Stern read his poem “The Dancing”
at Hillman Library, U. of Pitt.
*quoted from G. Stern