Eric Schneider lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan as a writer/editor. He graduated from the MFA in Creative Writing program at the New School in 1999, and his poetry has appeared in Fence and Salonika.

Japanese Animation appeared in Fence.

Four Poems by Eric Schneider

Japanese Animation

Hey, this is the good part
Where the main character is elevated
To a level of higher consciousness
By a glowing sphere of unknown origin.

This happens more often than people think,
Though not on any regular basis.

This reminds me of rain in the Northwest,
Which happens less often than people think,
Though usually on a regular basis.

This reminds me of watching
Japanese samurai films in Chinese subtitles,
A slightly absurd endeavor for a Westerner,
Though entertaining nonetheless.

Still, it's easy to get distracted,
And I realize I'm staring at a rabbit
Under the pine tree outside the window.

Onscreen, the hero is probably explaining
His new perceptions to his loved ones,
While the rabbit explains nothing to no one at all.

Please run, rabbit.
Your stillness is freaking me out.

Me, Also (Apologies to John Ashbery)

Compact thoughts weren't meant to last,
But it is their happiness that eludes us.

What he said after that I can't remember...
Something distant in its presence.

The sky kept its mouth predictably shut.
The orange juice had a clean taste.
The fireplace had not been lit for months.
The blue car motored down the road.

But what is that anyway? A totem?
New currency? An illumination?

O, the night is dark bluish blue tonight...
Best get the kids home before they fall asleep.

The Coelacanth

The coelacanth swims, not because it wants to,
But because it has to, being a fish of sorts.

It may be swimming, or it may be crawling,
Depending on how you look at it,
Which in itself is difficult, since it resides
At the bottom of deep South African waters,
Moving about on its lobed, limb-like fins.

If it could, it would probably be more sociable,
Give snappy coelacanth answers to inquiries
At parties and lecture at coastal universities
On the great mysteries of the wine dark sea.

Last Page

This is how it finally broke down:
The monkey got his jester's cap back
After many memorable mishaps.

Looking back, we all laugh and say,
"Oh, Gobo, that crazy monkey,
He sure had everybody fooled."

Suzanne, that magnet of minor tragedy,
Lost her place by the river in the force of a flood,
But that was okay, it was never a home.

Then there was Gerald, steadfast Gerald,
Who really had the rug pulled out from under him.
"Poor traditionalist, who will pay your doctor bills?"

And then there was you, dear reader...
Where did you go when the book finally closed?
To the store for a box of clementines?

I'm guessing you went somewhere for a walk...
Somewhere where the street broke down to nearly nothing
And you forgot what you were looking for in the first place.