Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Sarah Fox: From 'COMMA'

[The entire poem appears in The First Flag, forthcoming from Coffee House Press]

I Slid Out of My Mother’s Body
Of being numinous. Of drift and syringe.
Of metal atonement. Of a tube-fed
melancholy. Of post-terror karmic.
Of a certain amount of ear. Of the smog
smear around the blood hollow. Of the
ossified berry like a cave cataract. Of
my mind branched out through the fontanel,
antlering, leaves letting go of me.

Exogeny
I entered air a poisonous object subtracted
from a poisoned mother. Her radiance
scathes me. I'm a pharmaceutical interpolator.
My mother and I have the same (m)Other, 
man-made (m)Om. I came astride the butcher's
alchemical homologue. The butcher said,
we'll grow up on this street. We'll wear masks
to conceal our monstrous mutual disease.
He said, look at my throbbing moneybags.
I roam over a burial site, my cosmovisage, 
some myness that is not quite dead yet. 
A birth plan spilling cosmovergence.

Doll Box
Questioning began to break circuitry into the air 
between myself and the listening surround. 
At first my mouth formed only a zero
and I was mistaken by some for a doll. 
This air shielded the world from my sound, 
which was clotted and seizing, a stirring interior. 
I only want to feel myself the mother of something. 
I want, and want to redeem my fire. But a menacing 
voice perseveres, blacks out my no more logos!

 Brain Letter
One day I woke up rearranged like a sleepwalker 
misplaced upon a terrain of erotic grenades. 
Am I a manifesto? Am I cloudless, now? 
Little fuses sizzled and unfurled smoke signals
targeting thoughtpods in outerspace. 
Each grenade was a tiny twin of my own brain, 
a memory vessel: my buried fetal cunt, its plastic crust.

Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (52): Essie Parish in New York

Transcription & reconstruction by George Quasha

It is a test you have to pass.
Then you can learn to heal
with the finger, said Essie
pointing over our heads:
I went thru every test on the way,
that's how come I'm a shaman.
Be careful on the journey, they said,
the journey to heaven. They warned me.
And so I went.
Thru the rolling hills
I walked and walked,
mountains and valleys, and rolling hills,
I walked and walked and walked –
you hear many things there
in those rolling hills and valleys,
and I walked and walked and walked
and walked and walked until
I came to a footbridge,

Charles Stein: 'The Speed of Thought,' part two

(continued from earlier posting on Poems and Poetics)

I wish to suggest a rather subtle shift
in the way we think about our trips,
and indeed, our experience in general.

Of course one can and often does
simply become lost in the colors of the phenomena
that produce themselves for us.
But equally frequently, for many of us,
the trip is fraught with ontological issues.
The matter of the reality of what is going on
and what we are experiencing:
the reality and nature of the entities we encounter;
the nature and reality of the apparent narratives we are the part of.

Rochelle Owens: 'Hermaphropoetics' / 'Desire'

In this story

ripening on the vine so to speak

 

In this story a warhol-like

playfulness

 

a vinyl fruit of desire

teasing femme/homme

 

bringing millions to their knees

 

Antonin Artaud: 'The Old Caca Love Box'

A first translation from French by Clayton Eshleman

                                                                 Paris, 27 December 1946
                                                                 To M. Gilbert 
Lély

          Sir,

     I did indeed receive your letter urging me to send you the promised text
for your special issue on love. But I did warn you that I could tell you only what I
think. It was you who questioned me, it is to you that I respond.
     For I have had, for a long time, nothing more to say about love. It’s a feeling
that I believed I had and understood, at a time when I was developing false ideas
about life, for in truth I never found any love in it, only in me: