Jerome Rothenberg

1931 / New York City, New York

I Will Not Save the World

I like to cross
these borders. They take place
between the dead & dead.
I make my mind up
to be honest
only I fail to meet
their expectations.
I will not save the world.
The power in my blood
runs through my shoe.
I have never known fatigue
but know it now. I whistle
& the dog sits still
& ponders.
Nobody else is resting
or in love.
The taste of death is in my mouth.
I suck it like an arm
until it breaks me.
It is the fate of animals
& birds
the small lives left behind.
The children in the woods
run by like children.
I hide under a blanket
sick with counting.
Two & two are five
but two times two
is always four.
Call me tomorrow
—says the voice—
& I will call you back.
I am a net for all
voracious fish (E. Södergran)
& long for hell.
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