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Poems by C.E. Schmidt


"In the Louvre, Upon Viewing a Fine Piece of Art"

I shed tears
Of rocks and water.
That pasty skin,
Its mysterious hue
Halfway between green
And yellow,
Nurtures me somehow,
With a leering smile.
Perhaps I have harmonized
With that brown breast,
And that strange, Italian face?
It seems the womb
Has opened squarely,
Drawing me into
Its generative force.



"Second Street Sunrise"

A plastic, painted Jesus
Sits on the porch
As a greasy-haired kid
Plays soldier.
He's got his fake gun
Pointed right at God's son,
But he falls down
Laughing,
And does not pull the trigger.
Jesus weeps, unnoticed,
In peeling lead layers,
Becoming more pious
All the while.
As I walk down this street,
I say to him softly,
"Peel if you must,
But then paint again-
For you are the icon we turn to
When greasy-haired Johnny's
At school in detention
And the sot in the bar
Needs a shoulder to puke on.
Peel if you must,
Then move forward alone-
Second Street's had its heroes."



"Tchaikovsky's Love Letter"

Dear Peter,
I pray you are well,
Though I fear you have gone
To the place where our demons
Must dwell.
Sweet lover,
Your heart pulses still
With the music of life
And the faith
Of a god lost in Hell.
Late in the night
When a symphony swells
With the passion we felt
And the shame we have held
Deep inside,
I will cry out your name
As a hymn to the damned,
And a prayer to the sane-
While the final few notes
That have fed souls like ours
Will grow quiet,
Melting like sandstone
In rain.



"Coney Island"

I ate foot-longs at Nathan's
While bums slept in urine
And late dreams decayed
Into real fears and Sundays.
At Faber's Arcade,
There's always a light on-
The sign of the whore
Who wants more than a dick
And two bills, and a cock,
Then a prick.
This is a cesspool of profligate souls-
Slinking here mindlessly,
Drunk on themselves.
And I am the sideshow,
Here on the cyclone-
Retching my pork
With a smile.



"For Wallace Stevens"

Hartford is shrouded
In the grayness of your loss.
As I walk the ancient streets,
I catch glimpses of the green
That once lived here
Between the cement cracks-
You made it your religion once.
Inside your black briefcase
Was a lemon-yellow lining.
How it thrilled the world to look
At art with brown, patient eyes-
Yours was a new humanity-
An ode to nine-to-five!
In sad droplets of rain
On a rotting windowsill,
You saw more than the drip-drip-drip,
And the plink-plink-plunk.
These sounds became a symphony to you-
One that plays now in my mind
With the opulence of blue.



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Biographical sketch: I am 27 years old, work as an editor, and enjoy seeking the beauty in all things.

C. E. Schmidt recommends:

Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

Reason: Masters creates a fictional town with simple, yet ultimately complex characters. The book consists of poetic vignettes of these characters, and exposes both the pleasures and the dark side of small-town life.

Recommendations for writers:

When writing, I try to step outside of my own experiences, and create fictional settings whenever possible. This adds a new dimension to my poetry, which appears confessional at times, but often is not. When
writing poetry, I feel that it is important to consider the reader's diverse background, and try to write poetry that will appeal on many different levels.

 


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