Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (50): Ernst Herbeck, 'Golden ABCs,' with translation from German by Gary Sullivan

Photo credit: © Privatstiftung–Künstler aus Gugging
Photo credit: © Privatstiftung–Künstler aus Gugging

Golden ABCs

The sequence A-Z
The alphabet in order
The lock
The book order B-Y
The interim result C

1. A beautiful A
as it once was
is—like— an apple star
in—Vien’na (AS N)
2. A beautiful film star
is a prayer
As gladly I’s once staged (in old time VIENNA)
and as beautiful; as it once waS.
3. A A A winter that is there.
Winter, summer, autumn and rain
P l e a s e God—bounty me the apple gain.
A A A spring that is THERE.

B B B to separate does hurt.
always tributary in the crossroads,
the wood falls in whining odes,
B B B to separate does hurt.
B B B to separate does hurt.
Wood disheartened in the holloway,
the wood lies at the crossroads,
B B B to separate does hurt.

Alberto Blanco: 'Three Theories' from 'The Square Root of Heaven'

Translated from Spanish by Gustavo V. Segade & Elise Miller

                                                        Imagination is more important
                                                        than knowledge.

Emilio Prados: Three poems from 'The Enclosed Garden'

Translation from Spanish by Donald Wellman

Emilio Prados, left, & Federico García Lorca, Madrid, 1936
Emilio Prados, left, & Federico García Lorca, Madrid, 1936


Dreaming cowl,
summer rain:
where goes
the cloud in which you were born?

Forest echo,
heart of wind:
where the voice
that abandoned you in the sky?

Murmur of water
among soft rushes:
where goes
the sparkle of your current?

Human body fleeting,
slender reed:
where did your shadow forget
its nudity?

Beauty, solitude,
silent contemplation:
where is the true
scent of your word?...

(The voice of God
resounds against the age...)

Michael Davidson: Five new poems


I’m slouching past the point of no
interruptions the planet dissolving
from its patented heat death; I, too,
watch this cryogenic state thaw
under the stare of the hedge fund,
black car shows up
and gives them a check, I scream
and the sprinklers pulsate
in a thousand yards
because grass is not inevitable
but symptomatic, take my gene pool
all is smooth, no regrets,
and once this gazebo is swept
another will take its place or
no one will notice, a frog
appears on the fountain’s ledge