Jerome Rothenberg - from The Lorca Variations from


forthcoming [1993]from New Directions (XXIII)

Jerome Rothenberg


Proem.  Days dissolve.  The ink inside the album starts to 

fade.   Constantinople turning white erases Eloisa Lopez.   

And that archbishop, really something else. See where she's 

got him in her album -- what indulgence, oh my soul!   He's 

like a little white thing.

     [ 1 ]
     First White

     Birds fly down

     from the moon

     in white March

     (open sesame!)

     white & unreal

     like a child

     on the prairie

     a flower

     (open sesame!)

     white in the forest

     a cherrytree's


     Second White

     Frost on her feathers

     is white.

     grow cold on the syrinx.

     Dead Leda,

     her flesh glowing white

     in the forest,

     & Pan, sailing by

     in his boat.

     When it's night

     the blond swan,

     golden cygnus,

     throws open his wings.

     Third White

     White's a conjure for clouds

     & for mountains

     with the clouds on their shoulders.

     Stars are conjures for wings

     & for snow

     where stars drop down from the clouds.

     Mountains are conjures for stars,

     for all white conjurations.

     Fourth White

     Snow across the fields reveals the cock's crest.


     Stars still shine at dawn.


     The cock's crest suits him like a blouse.


     Stripped down he greets the day.


     A first laugh drives the stars away.


     His gold crest soon turns white.

     Final White

There were "romantic" words to end with -- "tree" or "house"

(0r "treehouse") -- before he got into another "novel." 

March was as sharp as "vinegar" & there were some longhaired

"schoolboys" writing "verses."  Did they notice how white a 

"thing" the "snowbird" was when they saw it after "school?" 

Also that "basil" would grow best in "sand" -- that "love" 

could be "sweet" as "cherries," not like "vinegar?"  With 

Eloisa "dead," there was a "grandmother" who sewed her 

"lips" shut.  That made a "springtime" for "dead" Eloisa, 

with her "name" lit up by "candles," and "girls" who looked 

like "baby dolls" blowing "white feathers" toward her.  O 

little "rose" inside your "convent," said another, bring a 

"bottle" for the "dead" down to their "boat."  "Mockorange" 

is the little "secret" we perpetually write about.

From Grist On-Line #1, October, 1993. An original publication.
© copyright 1993, Jerome Rothenberg