Jerome Rothenberg: 'Corno Emplumado Improvisación Blues y Fantasía,' in Spanish & English (1965)

[It was during our transition into the fabled 1960s that it began to feel that everything we wanted for poetry was now becoming possible.  I’ve written about much of this before, but a curious moment for me was the one time, in 1965, that I allowed myself to write a whole poem in a language other than English.  The occasion was the fourth anniversary issue of El Corno Emplumado (The Plumed Horn), the revolutionary poetry magazine that Margaret Randall & Sergio Mondragón co-founded in 1962 & carried forward for most of the following decade.  I was invited to contribute, since I had published often in their previous issues & my fourth book of poems, Poemas Gorky / The Gorky Poems, had been published by them in a bilingual edition.  In the spirit of the magazine’s signature bilingualism I set out to write a poem simultaneously in English & in Spanish, with the results that follow (Spanish first & English after).  My note on the history of El Corno, with the English version & the opening lines of the Spanish, appeared earlier on the blogger version of Poems and Poetics – here.]




6 agosto 1965

corno emplumado deliciosa pluma albaricoque y aurora

de inventos enmascarados con corno emplumado

levantándose del mar revelándose corno emplumado

corno emplumado corno emplumado de muerte

corno emplumado de recuerdos corno emplumado de relojes y manzanas

corno iridiscente y emplumado mis muebles de lienzos vacíos

corno emplumado corno abandonado corno deleitable susurrante y desaparecido

es corno emplumado soñando en mí forzando

conocimiento de corno emplumado creciéndole venas y arterias de corno


pulso de corno emplumado que estuve loco por sentir

de corno emplumado empuje del corno emplumado por tu carne

de balas estallando de corno emplumado

de medusa y calamar esperma negra líquido líquido líquido corno emplumado


de corno emplumado substancia substancia en figura

figura de parto submarino corno emplumado

corno emplumado de sexo

corno emplumado del pene firme la vulva dilatada

corno emplumado

corno emplumado muerde

se abre a salas vacías la carne es roja y violenta con corno emplumado

blanco a lo largo del corno emplumado

sudor es corno emplumado

vulva sobre lengua es corno emplumado

clítoris es corno emplumado

gorduara de nalgas vello de ano es corno emplumado

corno emplumado pasaje corno emplumado portal portal

aurora es corno emplumado

polvo de calles es corno emplumado

pantano es corno emplumado

legumbre es corno emplumado

ojo de calabaza es corno emplumado

semilla de pluma es corno emplumado

bandera es corno emplumado

alarido del animal moribundo es corno corno emplumado

blanco blanco es corno emplumado

negro es corno emplumado que descubre corno emplumado

corno emplumado aprendiendo todos los colores

corno emplumado todos los líquidos se encuentran y son corno emplumado

corno emplumado mi amor mis amores mis muertes mis recuerdos mi alarido en

            tu garganta

oh no muramos nunca nunca corno emplumado emplumado corno emplumado


corno emplumado para enterrarnos y emplumarnos

y convertirnos en corno emplumado


. . . . . . . 

plumed horn delicious feather apricot & dawn

rising from the sea revealing plumed horn

of masked invention with plumed horn

plumed horn of memories plumed horn of clocks & apples

iridescent & plumed horn my furniture of empty canvases

plumed horn abandoned horn delightful whispering & vanished horn

is plumed horn dreaming in me forcing

plumed horn’s knowledge growing plumed horn’s veins & arteries

the pulse of plumed horn I was mad to feel

of plumed horn thrust of plumed horn through your flesh

of bullets bursting from plumed horn

of jellyfish & squid black sperm liquid liquid liquid plumed horn mass

of plumed horn substance substance into shape

of birthshape submarine plumed horn

plumed horn of sex

plumed horn of risen penis swollen cunt plumed horn

plumed plumed horn is biting

opens into empty rooms the flesh is red & violent with plumed horn

white along the sides of plumed horn

sweat is plumed horn

cunt on tongue is plumed horn

clitoris is plumed horn

fat of buttocks hair of ass is plumed horn

plumed horn passage plumed horn entry entry

dawn is plumed horn

dust of streets is plumed horn

marsh is plumed horn

vegetable is plumed horn

eye of squash is plumed horn

featherseed is plumed horn

flag is plumed horn

cry of the dying animal is plumed horn

white white is plumed horn

black is plumed horn’s sighting of plumed horn

plumed horn learning all the colors

plumed horn all liquids meet & are plumed horn

plumed horn my love my loves my deaths my memories  my cry into your throat

o let us never die plumed horn plumed plumed horn plumed horn

plumed horn to bury us & to be plumed & be plumed horn


[first published in el corno emplumado, number 17, january 1966]