When we presented Star Black in early May, we told you that she was, among many other wonderful things, a photographer and an observer of others.  Today’s poem is more evidence of her life’s work both as a genius behind the camera and a pilgrim in the land of human nature.  There are few better examples than this of how to capture an event in stanzas.



The worst photo assignment I’ve ever had, oh forget it,
It would take too long to explain why I couldn’t
follow-focus for a newspaper what would be too
repelling to record and emotionally impossible,

a jumper on the Empire State, and as I tried to
be a committed professional and slunk that way
nauseously, I found a crisis cop had talked him
down.  I walked up to this scruffy young Irishman

like Mary Magdalene and gazed as the heavens
exploded and all the fire engines rumbled away,
back to their sheltered caverns of inaction, and

asked, my career reprieved from retirement, how
he did it, and he said “the guy just wanted to talk
to his father and we told him we could arrange it.”


Reprinted with the poet’s permission from “Waterworn”  © 1995 Fly by Night Press


Author Photo(c) by Chip CooperStar Black’s sixth book of poems, Velleity’s Shade, was released by Saturnalia Books in 2010. She is the author of three books of sonnets: Waterworn, Balefire, and Ghostwood; a collection of double-sestinas, Double Time; and a book of collaged free verse, October for Idas. Her poems have been anthologized in The Penguin Book of the Sonnet; 110 Stories: New York Writers After September 11, and The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1880 to the Present. Her collages and handmade books were exhibited at Poets House and The Center for Book Arts. She teaches in the MFA Writing and Literature Program at Stony Brook Southampton and works in New York City as a photographer. Author Photo by Chip Cooper.

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