^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^ from POLAND/1931 by JEROME ROTHENBERG "The Wedding" my mind is stuffed with tablecloths & with rings but my mind is dreaming of poland stuffed with poland brought in the imagination to a black wedding a naked bridegroom hovering above his naked bride mad poland how terrible thy jews at weddings thy synagogues with camphor smells & almonds thy thermos bottles thy electric fogs thy braided armpits thy underwear alive with roots o poland poland poland poland poland poland how thy bells wrapped in their flowers toll how they do offer up their tongues to kiss the moon old moon old mother stuck in thy sky thyself an old bell with no tongue a lost udder o poland thy beer is ever made of rotting bread thy silks are linens merely thy tradesmen dance at weddings where fanatic grooms still dream of bridesmaids still are screaming past their red moustaches poland we have lain awake in thy soft arms forever thy feathers have been balm to us thy pillows capture us like sickly wombs & guard us let us sail through thy fierce weddings poland let us tread thy markets where thy sausages grow ripe & full let us bite thy peppercorns let thy oxen's dung be sugar to thy dying jews o poland o sweet resourceful restless poland o poland of the saints unbuttoned poland repeating endlessly the triple names of mary poland poland poland poland poland have we not tired of thee poland no for thy cheeses shall never tire us nor the honey of thy goats thy grooms shall work ferociously upon their looming brides shall bring forth executioners shall stand like kings inside thy doorways shall throw their arms around thy lintels poland & begin to crow ^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^ "COKBOY Part One" saddlesore I came a jew among the indians vot em I doink in dis strange place mit deez pipple mit strange eyes could be it's trouble could be could be (he says) a shadow ariseth from his buckwheat has tomahawk in hand shadow of an axe inside his right eye of a fountain pen inside his left vot em I doink here how vass I lost tzu get here am a hundred men a hundred fifty different shadows jews & gentiles who bring the Law to Wilderness (he says) this man is me my grandfather & other men-of-letters men with letters carrying the mail lithuanian pony-express riders the financially crazed Buffalo Bill still riding in the lead hours before avenging the death of Custer making the first 3-D movie of those wars or years before it the numbers vanishing in kabbalistic time that brings all men together & the lonely rider saddlesore is me my grandfather & other men of letters jews & gentiles entering the domain of Indian who bring the Law to Wilderness in gold mines & shaky stores the fur trade heavy agriculture ballots bullets barbers who threaten my beard your hair but patronize me & will make our kind the Senator from Arizona the champion of their Law who hates us both but dresses as a jew one day an indian the next a little christian schmuck vot em I doink here dis place is maybe crazy has all the letters going backwards (he says) so who can read the signboards to the desert who can shake his way out of the woods ford streams the grandmothers were living near with snakes inside their cunts teeth maybe maybe chainsaws when the Baal Shem visited America he wore a shtreiml the locals all thought he was a cowboy maybe from Mexico "a cokboy?" no a cowboy I will be more than a credit to my community & race but will search for my brother Esau among these redmen their nocturnal fires I will share piss strained from my holy cock will bear seed of Adonoi & feed them visions I will fill full a clamshell will pass it around from mouth to mouth we will watch the moonrise through each other's eyes the distance vanishing in kabbalistic time (he says) the old man watches from the cliffs a city overcome with light the man & the city disappear he looks & sees another city this one is made of glass inside the buildings stand immobile statues brown-skinned faces catch the light an elevator moving up & down in the vision of the Cuna nele the vision of my grandfather vision of the Baal Shem in America the slaves in steerage what have they seen in common by what light their eyes have opened into stars I wouldn't know what I was doing here this place has all the letters going backwards a reverse in time towards wilderness the old jew strains at his gaberdine it parts for him his spirit rushes up the mountainside & meets an eagle no an iggle captains commanders dollinks delicious madmen murderers opening the continent up to exploitation cease & desist (he says) let's speak (he says) feels like a little gas down here (he says) (can't face the mirror without crying) & the iggle lifts him like an elevator to a safe place above the sunrise there gives a song to him the Baal Shem's song repeated without words for centuries "hey heya heya" but translates it as "yuh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-bum" when the Baal Shem (yuh-buh) learns to do a bundle what does the Baal Shem (buh-buh) put into the bundle? silk of his prayershawl-bag beneath cover of beaverskin above savor of esrog fruit within horn of a mountaingoat between feather of dove around the sides clove of a Polish garlic at its heart he wears when traveling in journeys through kabbalistic forests cavalry of the Tsars on every side men with fat moustaches yellow eyes & sabers who stalk the gentle soul at night through the Wyoming steppes (he says) vot em I doink here I could not find mine het would search the countryside on hands & knees until behind a rock in Cody old indian steps forth the prophecies of both join at this point like smoke a pipe is held between them dribbles through their lips the keen tobacco "cowboy?" cokboy (says the Baal Shem) places a walnut in his handkerchief & cracks it on a boulder each one eats the indian draws forth a deck of cards & shuffles "game?" they play at wolves & lambs the fire crackle in the pripitchok in a large tent somewhere in America the story of the coming forth begins "COKBOY Part Two" comes a brown wind curling from tense tissue sphincter opened over the whole continental divide & shot the people up plop plop a little girl emergeth she with the beaver tits nose furry eyes of the Redman's Sabbath gropes down the corridor (sez) hallo doctor got a hand to spare? doctor sez hokay --yas doctor hand up her bush he pulls a baby howling in lamplight a little Moses now the Cacique's daughter laugheth --oh doctor not so-o hard so hard America is born so hard the Baal Shem dreams about it 200 years later in Vitebsk (he was in correspondence with Wm Blake appeared on Peckham Rye --yes fully clothed!-- & was his angel) angel says his mother smiling proud she sees his little foot break through her crotch an itching races up her ribs America is born the Baal Shem is a beaver (happened while the Indian talked chanted behind Cody the mad jew slid to life past pink styrofoam snow of her body's channels the freaky passageways unlit unloved like gums of an old woman teeth were ripped from ages gone) into another kind of world he hurtles does reawaken in the female swamp a beaver amongst the rushes --momma!--calls the Baal Shem --mommeleh! vot em I doink here I hev become mine beard (he says) the blind world shines on him water runs through his mouth down belly it is dark a darkness (fur is dark & hides the skin & blood a universal fur but leaves one hole to open from the body's darkness pushing into light) erupts like great cock of the primal beings red & smooth like copper of the sun's red eye at night old Beaver lugs it in his hand I am myself my grandfather (he sings) my name is Cokboy --COKBOY, understand? I leave my grandmother in the female swamp will be the Great Deliverer someday yuh-buh-bum even might find a jar of honey might stick my prick in my prick might tingle might it not tickle me the bees find out about it & sting the knob it grows a second a dozen or so knobs along its length are maybe 30 knobs so what's the use I ask maybe will try again I drag it red & sore behind me so vulnerable I have become in this hot climate shitting & farting shooting marbles was opening my mouth & coming in it the blackbird shits o not so fast love into my hat my eyes turn white wood-lilies are growing from them a slavic birth I can't deny so tender in my eyes tender the native turds come floating & across America in an outrage uselessly I shout against the Sun you are no longer my father Moon you are no longer my mother I have left you have gone out jaunty with cock slung over shoulder this is the journey your young men will take (says Beaver) makes it to the hut where that old woman lives apron over her belly carp in oven maybe fried bread fat fat little mother don't mind if I drop a stone onto your brains your daughters be back later little hot girls I ride on pretending I was you I suck their ears & scream o put me lower down love o my cock inside & have to cool it I cool it in waters where a princess daughter of a chief went bathing lethal & innocent the cock has found its mark (his train has reached Topeka Custer is dead) & enters the bridegroom's quarters darkness her flesh prepared for it by new moon in her abdomen a sliver grows a silver dollar over Barstow lighting the Marriage of America in kabbalistic time (says Cokboy) you are the daughter of the mountain now will I take thee to my father's tribe to do the snake dance o jewish feet of El go crazy in his mind o El o Him I carry in my knapsack dirty pictures land grants (but further back her people gun for him how should they feel seeing their daughter in arms of Cokboy --C-O-C-K, understand?--) thou art become my Father's bride are wedded to (ug) Christian god forever bye bye I got to run now engagements await us in Salt Lake City industry riseth everywhere arrows strike concrete never shall bruise my sweetie's flesh (says Cokboy) on horse up river he makes his way past mining camps Polacks were panning gold in & other pure products of America o prospectors o Anglo Saxons baby-faced dumplings who pacified the west with gattling guns with bounties for hides of babes mothers' vulvas made baseballs to their lust o bringers of civilization heros heros I will fight my way past you who guard the sacred border last frontier village of my dreams with shootouts tyrannies (he cries) who had escaped the law or brought it with him how vass I lost tzu get here was luckless on a mountain & kept from true entry to the west true paradise like Moses in the Rockies who stares at California spooky in the jewish light of horns atop my head great orange freeways of the mind America disaster America disaster America disaster America disaster where he can watch the sun go down in desert Cokboy asleep (they ask) awake (cries Cokboy) only his beard has left him like his own his grandfather's ghost of Ishi was waiting on the crest looked like a jew but silent was silent in America guess I got nothing left to say ^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^^//\\^^^^^^^ "The Wedding" and "Cokboy" are the first and last poems in the book, POLAND/1931, by Jerome Rothenberg, published by New Directions, New York. Copyright © 1974 and 1986 by Jerome Rothenberg. An audio cassette of the author reading POLAND/1931 is available through Light and Dust. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Return to Light and Dust Poets.
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