From A Book of Witness Poems by Jerome Rothenberg



In Nerval's Tower

In Nervalís Tower
play the prince
in Nervalís tower.
On a crooked swing
I like to soar
then click my heels.
I owe a paragraph
to those I love
fathers who taught us
how to fail.
A dish is doubly good
when salted.
I run sideways
praying for the ground
to settle down.
Dancers accost me
halfway home.
At the edge of Nevsky Prospekt
bandaged fearful
Mishkin extends an arm
& pulls me down
ecstatic
to his face.
I spar with visitors
less keen than me.
I turn a buckle
outwards. Am I right
to dance for him
& does it heal?
No answer from the floor.
I take my time
& in the middle of my trance
he enters
with his hair
aflame.


Lose the Sound that Music Makes for Me
I seek a
dark trace
that is running from
my eye.
I would have died
without it.
Phantoms spilled it out
& said I had
no use
for it.
It gives me pleasure
too the more
I think of it
& run the risk of
living life
without it.
If my mouth
shuts down I
lose the sound
that music
makes for me.
I cry aloud
my final crack
at wisdom.
But the voice
inside me
has another
voice behind it
I can hear
when dreaming.
Something tastes
for me.
My mouth makes
funky music
while my fingers
fail.


Speak in Tongues
Speak in Tongues
A childís hand
reaches out
for bread
or money.
I pull the hair out
from my ears.
Sundays
I walk with gangs
of children.
I am more an urchin
than a little man
or woman
with a beard.
I speak in tongues
so no one
understands. Friends die
in distant cities.
I keep walking through
the world enough
to reach the moon &
circle backwards.
I become a star of
radio & films,
My dimpled features
fit as well
onto the tiny screen.
The tongues of men & angels
are my own. I speak
for multitudes
of dolphins bing bong
goes the bell. My heart
stands still.

Issue Seven

Editorial: Archive As Adventure

Jerome Rothenberg

Pierre Joris

Steve McCaffery

Paul Celan

Pablo Picasso

Review: A Book of the Book

Review: Poasis

And: Seven Words for Jerome Rothenberg

And: Pierre Joris: Improv-American Nomad



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