Marrying Sternfeld

Marrying Sternfeld

To marry,
to marry this man,
to marry this professionally unmarried man,

This man,
who looks for a living,
and lives to x-ray circumstances in undying

who embraces
exhausted elephants, burning pumpkins and whole planets

smashing them delicately
into two skinny dimensions but all the time knowing how phat

The world
is; to marry this man,
who washed Robert Frank’s dirty laundry and rummaged through

of Eggleston, who taught Struthsky everything they know
and anyone who would listen much, much about the suchness of life and schoolgirls

A thing
or two, schoolboys too; this man, who endured
the staccato snows of North Dakota and burning white sands of New Mexico

Without ever
winning a primary or MoMA
retrospective, who is still (by the way) underpriced if one considers the value of his

his Barnum & Bailey hair,
upside down and backwards sense of logic, timing, grace and chutzpah…

This man,
who has, admittedly, a few
problems, for instance, how to carry around and feed the planet’s largest

in an ordinary cranky Jewish
man’s body, which has had, lemmetellya, a few aches and pains of its own,

So what
I’m saying is to marry this man—
this one in particular—who has endured indentured servitude of annual reports and

Trustee portrait
sittings and family tragedies, who has so many miles
on his soul his odometer has been reset seven times, prompting the authorities

To puzzle
about his governor, his flywheel, his
radiator, his carburetor, who, feigning fatigue, flopped so fiercely onto my Felice Rossi

he broke it, this man, who once wrote
a screenplay (don’t ask!) and spent seventeen months in seclusion coming up with

The right word
for something he needed the right word for, this man who clung
to his Deardorff, not to mention his hatred of guns and love for immigrants, clung to his

8 x 10
and said he’d never
neverever go digital, this man can change his mind, have you noticed,

Can change
his mind the way a clock ticks
from one second to the next, the way a train changes tracks and a woman shoes before

A big date:
so, this is that big date, the one that keeps
going, and doesn’t stop no matter that the light’s not perfect and that that cloud was better

when it was over there, because the shadow
helped balance the reflection of oh nevermind; to marry this man, in this humid city

It aint
the heat it’s the humility
to marry this man is an act of pure unadultered 100% Grade-A American

courage, trust, and hope,
an act deserving a chest bump, a dap, a high five, a French kiss, plus an old fashioned

not to mention a key to the city, a citation
from the meter maids of heaven for a lifetime of free parking, and a stiff drink from the

of youth; so, dear Stuart, your mission, as
in mission possible, will be to do the three things every woman has to do for every

only moreso in Joel’s case: cuddle and comfort
him, salve his wounds; command him, make him strong so he can fight another day; and

Ravage him
if not every hour on the hour than
fairly often, while also continuing to laugh at his jokes and take his

and colds seriously, both the ones he has and
the ones he gives you, with interest, and know you are doing

A good thing,
the best thing any woman
could do, other than perhaps producing a cure for cancer, Cheney and global

but for this Sternfeld, you are the lark
ascending, the necessary giggle, the package deal, the whole shebang, you are the

Global warming
his soul so desperately needs
after many an empty winter and many a false spring.

on the occasion of the wedding of Stuart Hawkins and Joel Sternfeld, June 26, 2008, Tribeca, New York City