Thank You For Thinking It
My father swore by his second wife’s liver,
cut thin, fried with onions,
but it just about melted in your mouth, he said.
I slouched silent in the front seat.
My brother made no sound in the back.
Liver was, would always be,
the inch thick slab of blood red meat
our stepfather forced us once to eat with him
in the span of the breath you are half holding,
the white space of this stanza break
where you predict what comes next,
the possible violence
George did to us
when we tried to refuse
what he put on our plates
is almost as palpable to you
as this pen in my hand is to me,
but the truth is
I have no memory of that meal,
except that the cow’s organ
made me gag.
As a poet and essayist, Richard Jeffrey Newman’s work explores the impact of feminism on his life as a man. As a co-translator of classical Persian poetry, he writes about the impact of that cannon on our contemporary lives. His most recent books are For My Son, A Kind of Prayer (Ghostbird Press 2016) and the translation The Teller of Tales: Stories from Ferdowsi’s Shahameh (Junction Press 2011). He is also the author of The Silence of Men (Cavankerry Press 2006) and Selections from Saadi’s Gulistan and Selections from Saadi’s Bustan (Global Scholarly Publications, 2004 & 2006). A new book of poems, Words for What Those Men Have Done, is forthcoming later this year from Guernica Editions. Newman is on the executive board of Newtown Literary, a Queens, NY-based literary non-profit and curates the First Tuesdays reading series in Jackson Heights, NY. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Salon.com, The American Voice, Another Chicago Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Diode, New Verse News, Unlikely Stories, Cipher, Ekleksographia, and Dirty Goat. He is Professor of English at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY, where he also serves as secretary of his faculty union, The Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers (NCCFT). His website is richardjnewman.com.