Jerome Rothenberg: some addenda to “A Seneca Journal”

original cover drawing by Allan D’Arcangelo
original cover drawing by Allan D’Arcangelo

[In advance of the forthcoming reprint by Nine Point Publishing of my 1978 book, A Seneca Journal, the following are some of the poems omitted from the original publication & now ready to be seen anew.  Other work from the Seneca years has appeared since then in Shaking the Pumpkin & elsewhere. (J.R.)]

A Seneca Memory

At Harry Watt’s old place

above the Allegany River

Leo Cooper tells me:

“I could have been the first

“American Indian

“rabbi    were it not for my love

“of pork                                                                                                                                                

 

circa 1972, Salamanca NY

 

For A Seneca Journal: “The Grandfather” 

Bucktooth, about middling height,

spare & thin, hair cut close to his head, quite white.  He resides near the mouth of

     Bucktooth Creek

8 miles above Coldspring on the northern bank of the Allegany near his cabin are

     the Bucktooth Mills

Bucktooth Hotel & Bucktooth Postoffice

So his name is likely to have a local celebrity long after he shall have passed away.

     Memo.  Old Bucktooth died June 1851.  Ben Williams letter, Sept. 4, 1851.

 

 

In the Direction of the Equator but My Feet Still Facing North 

pale eyes.  the tree

is friendly

friend Jerome    he says

my watch says

3:15.

I walk to the old corner of Main Street

past the Seneca

Theater & cross

the bridge.  hello

you citizens of

Salamanca.

hello the dog says.

he is the tree’s friend

& mine.

he is a silly yellow

color.  eyes are shining

lightly into eyes.

in Yucatan the skies are never

empty & the trees

of Yucatan talk Mayan.

someone tells us:

you are going on a trip. 

 

Two Sky Poems 

1

 

the sky is a large

animal

             we live

under its tongue

 

2

 

my tongue is a large

animal

             grunting

is how we see the sky

 

 

The Beaver 1-12 

THE BEAVER (1)

 

They shall eat it.

 

 

THE BEAVER (2)

 

In her womb.

 

 

THE BEAVER (3)

 

And the sand lizard.

 

 

THE BEAVER (4)

 

He comes running.

 

 

THE BEAVER (5)

 

Someone slain.

 

 

THE BEAVER (6)

 

Their father.

 

 

THE BEAVER (7)

 

His sins.

 

 

THE BEAVER (8)

 

A harlot.

 

 

THE BEAVER (9)

 

In the heat.

 

 

THE BEAVER (10)

 

He shall lead.

 

 

THE BEAVER (11)

 

The prophet.

 

 

THE BEAVER (12)

 

And he built.

 

[composed by gematria]

  

Ritual Poem

 

dead dog –

– my enemy –

dead stone

dead stallion

– my deliverer –

dead mind

dead metal

dead appendage

– king of promises –

–  my burden –

first & foremost

–  my dead star –