Poetry & Fiction

Brooklyn Poetry: Stephan Schmidt

“001 On capturing beauty”

We’re like that old magic school bus,
shrunken to blood cell size,
moving through the veins of the earth.
It’s primordial here. It’s green.
Trees are standing guard all around the river
as it gashes its way through the valley.
It seems like science isn’t at play,
there is something else at work.

I am trying in vain to capture the gobsmacking breathlessness of it all.
Such a pathetic human, I am,
Wanting to capture this for myself,
to look at later,
some night when I am lonely.
I want steal some of its glory, hang it on the wall
somewhere everyone can see it.
I’m going through life taking trophies.

I am not even a crumb on the jeans of the earth to be flicked off.
I am microscopic, really.

The metadata can’t even tell that story.

And so I think, where are you now? These pictures remain, but you have gone away.


“002 Oppression”

Here she is
brandishing firearms and wielding knives
chest strapped with explosives
ready to mutilate everything that came before her.

There is something oppressive in that brand of beauty
the kind that sucker punches you and kicks and kicks and kicks
while you lay on the ground
begging for it to keep going
because that’s better than it ever coming to a stop.

You know that twenty years from now
you’ll hear her saying schedule in the accent
and see her slightly upturning her pinkie while she sipped tea.
And you will always remember that day
as the day it all felt so close
but the day it all fell apart

You will plea with your God and ask why
why even make something so precious if it can’t be held?

She is Starry Night, not for sale but on everyone’s wish list.

You wonder what you will do when she is gone
as inevitably she will be.
because she is time.
she moves.
What did you ever do to the sun
to make it leave so soon?
and what did you do to time?
it’s always coming over uninvited.

Stephan Schmidt lives in Brooklyn by way of Ohio. He works on transportation issues in New York City.

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