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J A C K E T  # 6
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Michael Rothenberg
Two Poems

                          The Big River
xxxxxxxx Hear my name in sleep, rephrase
deep sitting. tin of salmon fresh in morning's lampless house
xxxxx unheated dreams come and go out
xxxxxxxxx table stead for dictionary
xxxxx toast. sparrow under horse's hoof
xxxxx poof, no trembling weight
xxxxxxxxxx friendly melancholy
xxx apple pie, apple salve, ginger apple bread
xxxx butter sauce over Smokey Mountains
xxxxx emerald boat of Zeus and Daphne
xxx honey-colored oak. teacher's gruff instruction
xxxxx Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum
xx clear throat. less outcome. overcome axis 19th c.
xxxx Colombian tubas floating moonlit deck
xxxxxx shoals of Queen's Islands
xxxx El Presidente's stone summer retreat
xx coming down out of D.C. Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama
xxx Civil War. creek food for fishes. soup kit dishes
xxx rebuttal. antidotal predator fattens thinning habit
xxxxxxxx movement doesn't stay
          Two Worlds
The amber tongue contains the carcass of
An ant. Our thoughts crucified with
Ruby nails hammered flush against the
Expatriate utterances of stolen voices
Hemming, hawing, planning, damning
Rivers too big to succumb to the pharmacy
Somewhere there's a way back, sure
But where was that place? It was health
Two divided worlds we walked, both of us
Who never knew it well, wrote our
Last will with hindsight. The future will
Not rest. We didn't do a very good job
Learning the new each other. Like Heron
And Crane: "And to this very day they
Go to each other to propose but never get
Married." Pour wine over brimming
Lip of glass, splotch white table-cloth
Pressed with blues, argue out blame
Say goodnight in tears
                                            May 12, 1998

Michael Rothenberg photo  

Michael Rothenberg lives in Pacifica, California. He is a widely-published poet, and the editor and publisher of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else. He recently edited Overtime: Selected Poems by Philip Whalen, due out with Viking Penguin in 1999. Jacket hopes to review the book in Issue # 7, April 1999.See Dale Smith's article on Whalen in Jacket # 5.
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