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

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Jerome Rothenberg


For Robert Kelly

                    [From The Stars in Mindless Space: A Deeper Image.  Later & Uncollected Poems.               In   Progress.]


O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

 No world more clear

than what we see

in dreams

nor more amazing,

numbers bursting into

stars    & stars

enriching what we learn

when dreaming.


It is no more than this,

to sleep & be

the master of the universe,

not to be bound to earth

but gathering a trillion

other worlds,

to count myself

a little king

stepping aside for time.


Nothing is measured

that the mind can fathom

waking.  In the way

her body beckons

when you turn to touch her

coming from a black hole

deep in space

& time.  We learn to count

the deeper images

& those still deeper,

gods & angels

dancing on a pin. *               * a chip


Before the dream

turns bad

in which a pin* holds                      * a chip

all we know

& all we fear

I stretch out flat

to the Horizon.

I arch above you

like a lid.

I vanish & return.

My name is Death.


The word extermination

resonates    nothing

escapes.  The world

itself ends in a time

beyond all time

where time ends

leaving a residue behind

of mindless space

& still more mindless

images    the nightmares

that the mind conceals. *           * reveals


To run from time

isn’t a choice,

the stars we see

are overwhelming

& block the view

or bring up images

of light & dark,

a flickering

across the map

of time,

the flow of sand

in dreams.



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