My name is smaller than it sounds. I work & polish it until a light shines through. I thrust a thorn under my tongue. I drop the little stones behind me. Striding I can feel my height extend up to the rafters. My voice is thin, still thinner is the space between my footsteps & the earth. I do not want you calling me except at the allotted times. I scratch my head because I know it's empty. Hot & cold are equal terms. I give up my identity to write to you. The notice on the board says: Stay at home Be vigilant The aim of medicine is medicine. I can hardly wait until tomorrow. Signals everywhere are fraught with terror. In the deepest waters spread around the globe there is a sense of life so full no space exists outside it. I will go on writing till I drop & you can read my words beyond my caring.
Jerome Rothenberg - 1931-
The Case for Memory
I was amok & fearless twice deceived for which I sought out satisfactions in a tree. Too carelessly I reached for love & beaten down I found you in a froth or frenzy spent my days around the pan yards. I would ask no help from those whose trust is weak but I would buy the latest & the least. I live for something practical --the case for memory-- I set one foot into the space the others leave abandoned. Not your lord or slave I meet you in an equal clash of wills & face you down. I only touch the ground on Sundays