A cancer biologist by trade, my poetry often explores the delicate balance between certainty and doubt, the tension between what we want to see and what we cannot see, color, taste, feeling, anxiety... and a dab of humor along the way to make it tolerable. I have three full-length poetry collections and a quiver full of poems in journals.
Mount Blanc, 1969
We climbed to its base, three longhair teens
on bicycles, but not before drinking polluted
water from a chemical plant two miles upstream.
The stars shot through the air like bullets
and soon cut holes in our stomach and bellies.
We heard the chatter of birds in the morning,
laced with frightful counterpoint of hallucination.
One of us went up the mountain toward a tram.
One of us went back into our makeshift tent.
And the third went downhill on a muddied trail.
By midday, one of us refilled canteens at the river,
one of us took a tram down the mountain,
and one of us remained in our makeshift tent.
By nightfall, two continued puking by the river
and the third began descending down a muddied trail.
In Chamonix, the tourists were lunching and jolly.
The light air of celebration and mirth filled the hearts
of Spaniards and Danes and Scots as we inched by,
vomiting from bicycles, through the city and straight
up to Simplon Pass. After a brief rest, we donned
helmets and coasted effortlessly 300 kilometers
down the green side of Italy, toward the big Sea.
Father’s silver chest actually was filled with silver.
I spilled out its contents onto their white duvet:
uncirculated sets, proof sets, American Eagles,
Gold dollars, a pile of German notes held
together with a rubber band. I arranged it all
on the bedspread, took down Dad’s German sword
from its perch in his closet and wielded it like a German
officer; a battle scene materialized the likes of which
man has never seen or heard, for about an hour,
until they came home and caught me with the goods.
I never saw one coin of that rich booty after that day,
but he did bequeath to me the empty chest, made
of cheap painted cardboard with an artificial lock.
©2016 Edward Nudelman
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