Jerome Rothenberg, with Arie Galles: From “Twenty Cloud Poems,” 1-8

Jerome Rothenberg & Arie Galles: A Double-Headed Portrait with Clouds
Jerome Rothenberg & Arie Galles: A Double-Headed Portrait with Clouds

But none of them paused,
none of them wanted to be a cloud

F.G. Lorca 

CLOUD POEM (1)

 

among the clouds

one face appears

 

a world of babes

& shadows

 

wrapped in its caul

 

 

CLOUD POEM (2)

 

stretched out in coils

the bodies of the lost

lie dormant

 

babes as fair

as paradise

who sleep their dreams

 

so hard to lend an eye to

& to look inside

to see the earth below

 

more like the sky

when turning softly over

the blue above

 

goes grey

 

 

CLOUD POEM (3)

 

inside the grey world

black eyes open

 

black lips

lie in wait

 

ready to suck down

the lights

 

the white

an opening more real

 

than morning

a limpid hole

 

 

CLOUD POEM (4)

 

the dead return

 

the nearly dead

lie sleeping

 

keeping a line

between them

 

hungry, mutilated

faces lost

 

ghosts wrapped

in gauze

 

& set in rows

like sleepers

 

 

CLOUD POEM (5)

 

land breaking through

at last    at sunset

 

at the breaking down

& folding up

 

of borrowed

time

 

 

CLOUD POEM (6)

 

to be a cloud

face up

against the other

brighter cloud

 

more like an animal

a life gone by

who would not

rather be?

 

 

CLOUD POEM (7)

 

denial

where the winds rush

lifting bodies

like false clouds

 

from darkness

into light

& back

to darkness

 

 

CLOUD POEM (8)

 

a god is easy

sighting

 

easy body

of a man

or woman

 

easy dreams

of power

 

from the side

where light

fades out

 

the face of night

is lurking

 

[NOTE.  For some time now I’ve been working with Arie Galles on Graffite, a three-part series of graphite drawings with poem accompaniments, a followup in some sense to our earlier collaboration on Fourteen Stations, some small part of which I was able to display previously on Poems and Poetics.  In this instance Galles’s photo-based drawings came first & my readings of them followed thereafter.  An actual viewing of drawings and poems waits of course for final publication, but my part of the over-all work is probably clear enough for now from the words alone.  (J.R.).]