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Four Poems
by Michael Rothenberg

Black as the Celebration of the Soul

                  for Luis Baptista on news of his death

I've done so much I feel like
It's someone else's life
I'm looking at remembering
Cunnilingus Inflections
And other psychedelic illustrations
drawn by an 11 year old girl
like stigmata
on the laundered
gateway of a coastal suburb
30 years after her mother took LSD

It's raining silhouettes
On the brightest day of a Miami year
I swallow pink orchids
Palm trees hallucinate
on their own milk
Some things just die
The blight is systemic
Honey-colored death
infects the fevered brooms
that once were nests to moonlight
City gardeners on cherry pickers
Hydraulic thrones
groan upwards
Bring down the slant curved
headless spines
that once swayed and swept the sky

Now naked in memory
Naked in mourning
There's no way out of memory
And I am reaching
with tired vanity towards
remembrances of
a hummingbird Kingdom of Now

                                        June 15, 2000.
Phantom, Come Hither!

                  for Ira Cohen & Mary Sands

You're not having enough Fun or smoking enough Dope
Or opening up your Head or Heading Open
Or reaching into the "Akashic Record"
So you must go to the "Cosmic Hotel"
Check into the honeymoon suite
Give the cashier all your money, your last red cent
Order room service on credit
Dine on grilled salmon in saffron and dill
With a side order of hot crispy Paisley French Fries
Pay tribute to the grave robbers and the master
Drive-thru vagabond, Francois Villon
Magicians of affliction and permission
And the onion headed cathedrals of Moscow

Break open the sky
Bring down a shatter of stars
And let the star-shattered shower
Fall on Orange County igniting the memory
Of bulldozed orange groves into a rage of red-orange fire
A banquet of bubbling fruit, incense of oily rinds
Spill your intimate juices on a map of the Cyber Mind
Map the trail where lost dreamers go
This is not a day for archives or libraries
Or documentaries in honor of Olympic Spirit
This is the Olympian Moment
The homecoming of Creation and Uncreation

Leave the Beat to silence, find the silence
Beat bloody bone on bleached bone, restore the beat
Pounding the Kaleidoscope of Human Misery back into motion
Toast to the suffering, lie without shame
In a bramble of thorny sweet roses
Run in a terrible glee through the horrifying field of
Avant-garde Pinocchios
Black and white noses standing like scarecrows
On the face of a child bound in the high-wires of signal control
Dancing in Idaho, Iowa, Ohio and Indiana cornfields
Drink to the masked Hula Dancers
Engorged on love
Have fun because that's what suffering is for

There is no time for a series of somber contemplations
Or leaning on a rain rattled lamppost
Smoking a cigarette with a blind eye turned toward a puddle
That is without reflection of past, present or future
Blow blue smoke into the skylights of the dying city!
Swim in the rain pools that course through the bric-a-brac
Of this consuming culture shrinking from anorexia
Dodging paranormal genies on Persian carpets
While the sun goes up and down and up
And down and you shed your skin
And I shed my skin and die and die

With every breath
Death-click, enlargement, refraction, replication, scan
Of the photographic Mind Horizon
Join me now, you're holding on too tightly to your rule book
Operating manual, life
You don't need your life
Everything is in its place
There's no reason anymore for clinging or marrying
Or attachments to a sofa bed
Step outside and scream at the Daughters of Hell
I am waiting for you
Ghost draped in flesh
Waiting for you to turn me on

                                        June 7, 2000.

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Saved by the dream weavers
Saved by the spirit catchers
     The mythologizers
     and the Bedouins
             of Zen
Saved by the music, the hermits
   in their talmudic jazz
    and their mountain
lookouts stored with noodles,
    black fungi & Merlot
Saved by their humor and curses
      and dizzy outbursts
Strung out on antibiotics, insulin
          and Prozac
     in the contemplation
      of the one and the
      the leaf and the cabaret
        of too many spoken
Saved, Saved,
Saved all over again
          All over town
    and through the hurricanes
      of passive repressive
Saved to put
           a hat on, wear
      a red coat, look at a
          cloud & see a
Saved to be surprised
             for the day I
        could be surprised
        by generous loving
       and welcome more

                                        June 17, 2000.

Michael Rothenberg is a poet, songwriter and publisher of Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else, and co-editor of JACK Magazine, Editor of Overtime, Selected Poems by Philip Whalen (Penguin Putnam, Inc.), he has published several books of poems including Nightmare of the Violins, What the Fish Saw and Favorite Songs. He is also the author of the novel Punk Rockwell (Tropical Press). The Paris Journals, his new book of poems, is out now from Fish Drum, Inc.


Jack -


Poetry Kit


Naked Poetry



Big Bridge



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