45 I Give Up My Identity, by Jerome Rothenberg

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.


 Others you might like:
Poem Entering the Apple Valley Target, by Lynn Melnick — Into the fluorescent rough country headlong into bulks of flesh impatient to outspend me and who wouldn’t fold real quick under the weight of America’s sales and specials. I believed then I didn’t that I was different than I am in my own skin in this infinity mirror, instructed such to seduce myself, to go […]
Identity Crisis, by F. D. Reeve — He was urged to prepare for success: “You never can tell, he was told over and over; “others have made it; one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell. Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming, domestic service–the dictionary order of cats who have made it. […]
Mass Effect, by Katy Lederer — Pushed together, pulled apart, we were purported pluripotent. We developed as an organ, a benign and beating heart. We sought physicians for histology. Discovered spinal symmetry. Within the sacred bowl of life, our innards spilled in red array. I wondered what you’d have to say if in your mouth you grew a tongue. I wondered […]
Mean Free Path [excerpt], by Ben Lerner — For the distances collapsed.             For the figure failed to humanize the scale. For the work, the work did nothing but invite us to relate it to             the wall. For I was a shopper in a dark             aisle. For the mode of address             equal to the war was silence, but we went on celebrating doubleness. For […]
Midwinter Day [Excerpt], by Bernadette Mayer — I write this love as all transition As if I’m in instinctual flight, a small lady bug With only two black dots on its back Climbs like a blind turtle on my pen And begins to drink ink in the light of tradition We’re allowed to crowd love in Like a significant myth resting still […]
Curtains, by Ruth Stone — Putting up new curtains, other windows intrude. As though it is that first winter in Cambridge when you and I had just moved in. Now cold borscht alone in a bare kitchen. What does it mean if I say this years later? Listen, last night I am on a crying jag with my landlord, Mr. […]
To the Reader: If You Asked Me, by Chase Twichell — I want you with me, and yet you are the end of my privacy. Do you see how these rooms have become public? How we glance to see if– who? Who did you imagine? Surely we’re not here alone, you and I. I’ve been wandering where the cold tracks of language collapse into cinders, unburnable […]
Advertisements