I Am the President of Regulation

By Jerome Rothenberg b. 1931 Jerome Rothenberg
I am the Giant Goliath,
I digest goat cheese.
I am a mammoth's calf.                                  (H. Ball)
I know your pinnacles by name.
My fingers close around
your fingers. I grow pale.
I become your executioner.
I come forth fat & bloody.
I propose a toast to peace.
I am the president of regulation.
None are savvier than I.
I forge a pact with murderers.
I claw my way to freedom.
Mark my words. I have no time
to be your humble servant.
I make a rope from women's hair.
I bite into the mighty pippin.
I turn & then return by turning.
I turn a vessel over with my hands.
I turn a pretty penny.
I am called the lord of dimes.
I turn my thoughts to daily deeds.
I turn my eyes to heaven.
I turn a screw no one has turned
before me. I predicate
& postposition freely.
In me the numbers come to naught.
I find a secret world in mirrors.
My fingernails are pale,
my steps are perpendicular.
I parachute & strut.
I seek acceleration day by day.
I am a man who swims among the drifters.
Istanbul is not my home.
I turn a page & listen.
I am as hard as nails.
My body swells from all the sounds inside it.
I show myself in dreams.

"I Am the President of Regulation" By Jerome Rothenberg, from A Book of Witness: Spells and Gris-Gris, copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by Jerome Rothenberg. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: A Book of Witness: Spells and Gris-Gris (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2003)

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Poet Jerome Rothenberg b. 1931

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Social Commentaries

Biography

Jerome Rothenberg's publishing career began in the late 1950s as a translator of German poetry, first for Hudson Review and then for City Lights Books. Founding Hawk's Well Press in 1959, Rothenberg used it as a venue to publish collections by some of the up-and-coming poets of the era, including Diane Wakoski and Robert Kelly. He also self-published his first book of poems, White Sun Black Sun, under the Hawk's Well imprint. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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