Dreamwork Three

By Jerome Rothenberg b. 1931 Jerome Rothenberg
a trembling old man dreams of a chinese garden
a comical old man dreams of newspapers under his rabbi's hat



a simple tavernkeeper dreams of icicles & fisheyes
a sinister tavernkeeper dreams of puddles with an angel of the law in every drop



the furrier's plump daughter is dreaming of a patch of old vanilla
the furrier's foreign daughter is dreaming of a hat from which a marten hangs



the proud accountant dreams of a trolleycar over the frozen river
the reluctant accountant dreams of his feet sleep in a fresh pair of red socks



the silly uncle dreams of a history written by a team of Spanish doctors
the uncle in the next apartment dreams of the cost of Katmandu



the retired gangster dreams of a right turn into a field of sacred lemons
the dancing gangster dreams of a carriage, a donkey, & a hand that holds the ace of spades



the grim man with a proposition dreams of his fingers entering a pair of gloves
the excited man with a proposition dreams of the letter E torn from the title of his poem



the remarkable elevator operator dreams of the marriage of karl marx
the easy elevator operator dreams of a seashell at the entry to the thirteenth floor



the candid photographer dreams of a wooden synagogue inside his brother's camera
the secret photographer dreams of a school of golden herrings drifting out to sea



the yiddish dadaist dreams of rare steaks & platonic pleasures
the rosy dadaist dreams that a honeycomb is being squashed against his face



the mysterious stranger dreams of a white tablecloth on which black threads are falling
the stranger whom no one sees dreams of his sister holding up a string of pearls



the asthmatic tax collector dreams of a row of sacred numbers
the rebellious tax collector dreams of a bathhouse set among old trees



the robust timber merchant dreams of a wind that blows inside the blacksmith's bellows
the sobbing timber merchant dreams that his hands have pressed the buttocks of his dreaming bride



the man with a fish between his teeth dreams of a famine for forty-five days
the man dressed in white dreams of a potato



the savage gentile dreams of a dancer with flashy lightbulbs on her shoes
the repentant gentile dreams of her fingers bringing honey to his lips



the fancy barber dreams that his hands massage the captain's neck
the silent barber dreams of a rooster with a thread tied to one leg



the salty bridegroom dreams of horses galloping they swirl around the bridegroom's house
the genuflecting bridegroom dreams of what his bride slides through her fingers he sees it white & trembling in the early sabbath light



the fat man in the derby dreams that it is spring that his seed soon will be falling through an empty sky
the ecstatic man in the derby dreams that if he dreams it his words will turn into flowers

“Dreamwork Three” By Jerome Rothenberg, from Khurbn and Other Poems, copyright © 1989 by Jerome Rothenberg. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: Khurbn and Other Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1989)

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Poet Jerome Rothenberg b. 1931

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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