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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Jerome Rothenberg, with Arie Galles: From “Twenty Cloud Poems,” 1-8

Jerome Rothenberg & Arie Galles: A Double-Headed Portrait with Clouds
                                    But none of them paused,
                                none of them wanted to be a cloud
                                                 F.G. Lorca

cloud poem (1) 

among the clouds
one face appears 

a world of babes
& shadows 

wrapped in its caul

cloud poem (2) 

stretched out in coils
the bodies of the lost
lie dormant 

babes as fair
as paradise
who sleep their dreams 

so hard to lend an eye to
& to look inside
to see the earth below 

more like the sky
when turning softly over
the blue above 

goes grey 

cloud poem (3) 

inside the grey world
black eyes open 

black lips
lie in wait

ready to suck down
the lights 

the white
an opening more real 

than morning
a limpid hole

cloud poem (4) 

the dead return 

the nearly dead
lie sleeping 

keeping a line
between them 

hungry, mutilated
faces lost 

ghosts wrapped
in gauze 

& set in rows
like sleepers

cloud poem (5) 

land breaking through
at last    at sunset 

at the breaking down
& folding up 

of borrowed

cloud poem (6) 

to be a cloud
face up
against the other
brighter cloud 

more like an animal
a life gone by
who would not
rather be?

cloud poem (7)
where the winds rush
lifting bodies
like false clouds 

from darkness
into light
& back
to darkness

cloud poem (8) 

a god is easy

easy body
of a man
or woman 

easy dreams
of power 

from the side
where light
fades out 

the face of night
is lurking

[note.  For some time now I’ve been working with Arie Galles on Graffite, a three-part series of graphite drawings with poem accompaniments, a followup in some sense to our earlier collaboration on Fourteen Stations, some small part of which I was able to display previously on Poems and Poetics.  In this instance Galles’s photo-based drawings came first & my readings of them followed thereafter.  An actual viewing of drawings and poems waits of course for final publication, but my part of the over-all work is probably clear enough for now from the words alone.  (J.R.).]

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