To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Friday, October 25, 2013

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
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 emplumado
pulso de corno emplumado que estuve loco por sentir
de corno emplumado empuje del corno emplumado por tu
de balas estallando de corno emplumado
de medusa y calamar esperma negra líquido líquido líquido
     corno emplumado
masa 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
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
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]

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