The Cortland Review

Gerald Stern
Five poems by Gerald Stern.

Christopher Buckley
Michael Burkard
Jeff Friedman
Ross Gay
Jack Gilbert This marks an author's first online publication
Linda Gregg
Jane Hirshfield
Tony Hoagland
Joan Larkin
Dorianne Laux
Jan Heller Levi
Anne Marie Macari
Ed Ochester
Alicia Ostriker
Kathleen Peirce This marks an author's first online publication
Peter Richards
Ira Sadoff
Jean Valentine
Arthur Vogelsang This marks an author's first online publication
Judith Vollmer
Anne Waldman
Peter Waldor
Michael Waters This marks an author's first online publication
"The Final Vocabulary of Gerald Stern" by David Rigsbee.

Book Review
"Save the Last Dance" by Gerald Stern—Book Review, by David Rigsbee.

Jeff Friedman

Jeff Friedman's fourth collection of poetry, Black Threads, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2007. His poems and translations have appeared in many literary magazines, including American Poetry Review, Poetry, 5 AM, and The New Republic. He is a core faculty member in the M.F.A. program in Poetry Writing at New England College.

The Orgasm In Late Afternoon    

—after Nin Andrews

The orgasm was there, inside. I knew it
and she knew I knew it. I knocked
but she wouldn't come to the door. I called
her phone, ringing into voice mail.
I peeked in the window and saw her feet,
her bare legs rising into fleshy thighs.

"She's irritable, dyspeptic," the crow
in the driveway warned in a loud voice.
"Better let her have her way."
"I always give in," I answered.
"Don't listen to him," the robin, perched
on the branch of a birch, interjected. "He's bitter."

She was a queen bee, I could feel her power
humming in the cells of her house. But my jaw
ached, and my tongue was numb.
I felt dizzy from the smell of pollen
and nectar. My allergies had kicked in
and my whole face swelled.

"Take a rest," the robin said.
"Quit now," the crow countered, "are you nuts?"
The sun receded behind the hemlocks,
and a breeze cooled the sweat on my neck.
I whispered names into the window,
"Honey, Sweetie, Sugar the gates,"

and still nothing happened.
Then I grabbed the knocker
and banged on her door for all I was worth.
She opened the upstairs window,
"Go home," she said, looking down at me,
"it's almost dinner time, and I need a nap."

I leapt up as though I could reach her
and yelled, "I want you to be happy—
I won't take no for an answer."



© 2008 The Cortland Review