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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerome Rothenberg
Jerome Rothenberg
Poet, editor, and translator, Jerome Rothenberg has published over seventy books and pamphlets of poetry and is known for being at the forefront of American ethnopoetics...
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45
I Give Up My Identity

 
by Jerome Rothenberg

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.






From A Book of Witness. Copyright © 2003 by Jerome Rothenberg. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
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