“96 Vandam” by Gerald Stern
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
I am going to carry my bed into New York City tonight complete with dangling sheets and ripped blankets; I am going to push it across three dark highways or coast along under 600,000 faint stars. I want to have it with me so I don't have to beg for too much shelter from my weak and exhausted friends. I want to be as close as possible to my pillow in case a dream or a fantasy should pass by. I want to fall asleep on my own fire escape and wake up dazed and hungry to the sound of garbage grinding in the street below and the smell of coffee cooking in the window above.
from This Time: New and Selected Poems, 1998
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY
Copyright 1998 by Gerald Stern.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Gerald Stern from This Time: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1998 by Gerald Stern. For further permissions information, contact Gerald Stern, 89 Clinton Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530.
About the Poet
Gerald Stern (1925- ) winner of the 2012 Rebekah Johnson National Prize for Poetry at the Library of Congress, is the author of over 20 poetry collections, including Divine Nothingness (W. W. Norton, 2014).
Learn more about Gerald Stern at The Poetry Foundation.