Jerome Rothenberg

1931 / New York City, New York

45 I Give Up My Identity

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.
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