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For Diane

  • Time runs thru my fingers,
  • laughter & feathers
  • against her lips
  • when I bend to kiss her
  • She is my wonder, who sleeps
  • & will not wake for me
  • but with her tongue brings me bread,
  • to eat love in a whisper
  • I know her as we know the poor,
  • by their houses, measuring
  • the empty shelves or the glass
  • thru a door that never closes
  • Everything is still again
  • where my love’s waiting
  • the door swings back in place
  • & the hinges rest
  • If it is night we are close
  • if it is morning the sun won’t stay hidden
  • will you wake for me again?
  • the lost bells cry in sleep
  • Yes, the lost bells cry in sleep

Jerome Rothenberg, a leading exponent of American avant-garde poetry, is the author of a large number of poetry collections, has done important literary translations from German, Spanish, and other languages, and is the editor of several seminal anthologies of traditional, contemporary and world poetry, including Technicians of the Sacred (tribal and oral poetry from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania); Shaking the Pumpkin (traditional American Indian poetry); America a Prophecy (a fresh reading of the poetries of the North American continent, co-edited with George Quasha); Revolution of the Word (American experimental poetry between the two world wars); and Poems for the Millennium (three volumes of experimental modernism and romanticism, with Pierre Joris and Jeffrey C. Robinson). “A Slower Music” is from his collection Poems for the Game of Silence, published by Dial Press (1971) and New Directions (1975), and is reprinted by permission of the author.

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nan shartel June 27, 2012 @ 4:38 p.m.

this slow soul dance

beleaguered but patient

in the dark's cunning


neglected empathy crooning

lying in wait in your Hemingway eyes


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