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Jason Schneiderman

Jason Schneiderman

Jason Schneiderman is the author of Primary Source (Red Hen, 2016), Striking Surface (Ashland Poetry Press, 2010), and Sublimation Point (Four Way Books, 2004) as well as the editor of Queer: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is an Associate Professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY.

Writing About ______ in The Age of Google

The firework he rested on his head
killed him instantly when he set it off.

It happened in Maine, in _____.
It was all over the news, and time was,

I would have written about it,
used his name without thinking twice,

quoted the news source, shown
everything. I might have made him

a symbol for something larger,
or imagined his thoughts, made up

a few details, but not now,
when I suspect that the people

who loved him are likely to Google him,
to find what I write. Perhaps this should

always have been the case, that what
I was about to do was to instrumentalize

him, to make his death serve my work.
Perhaps it would have been a good poem.

Perhaps not. Perhaps it would have moved
my readers. Perhaps not. But now,

it will never exist, to spare
the people who loved him

the chance of stumbling across
my little poem of interpretation,

which I might have titled,
"What _____'s Death Means to Me,"

when the truth is that it means nothing
to me, while to those who loved him,

his life was the center of a universe,
the way every life is the center

of someone's universe, and every life
deserves to be mourned,

even the lives ended in ways so foolish
as to be, to the unacquainted, laughable.


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