Arie Galles & Jerome Rothenberg: Graffite (Complete)

        A few years ago I began to engage with the artist Arie Galles in a series of poems  to accompany three “suites” of his drawings (twenty drawings in each suite).  Now, under the title “Graffite: Three Suites after Images by Arie Galles” he has posted all sixty poems & drawings on his web site (, sidestepping or postponing publication by any more traditional means. 

        My own pre-face to the work reads as follows: “For some time now I’ve been working with Arie Galles on Graffite, a three-part series of graphite drawings with poem accompaniments: MoonFields, CloudPoems & PepperTree, in that order. Here, with the exception of MoonFields (abstract circles & lines), Galles’s images begin as black & white photographs that he then translates, as with his monumental 14 Stations, into three sets of twenty graphite drawings each, to which are added twenty poems of mine as linkages. My own procedures, after the fact, are largely improvisational, speaking to his images while maintaining a sense of distance & independence. To borrow from the medieval Japanese, the principle here is not one of direct comment or illustration but of something like juxtaposition &/or collage ‘wherein it does not matter that the upper and lower part are put together in a seemingly unnatural & arbitrary way so long as they cohere in the mind.’ In the dance between us, it is he who leads and I who follow, hopefully always in synch.”

        The whole work is now freely available, for any & all who want to see & read it, at


Moonfields II

Moonfields II


life has spirit, death

has only chalk


with chalk a word

is written


but not by you



Peppertree III

Peppertree III

ferns & rind

the black a distance

deeper than a star



Cloudpoem XI

Cloudpoem XI

look down

& see


to the eye

are only



the earth below



in the mind

is only