January 17, 2005

Poem from Clayton Eshleman


The contours of certain cave walls invite engagement.
Hosts in the wall, bald, convex,
hold vigil over mental drift. To populate
the moonscape of a wall. To draw in lit craters
the squirm and reel of incarnate trial.
Their bellies hang low, their shoulders
rise and sink like pistons, each step is placed
soundlessly. Panthera spelea. Larger than
the African lion. Larger even
than the Amur tiger. Maneless. Craning forward.
Cheeks bulging. Heads telescoping out of heads.
Eyes dilated. Knowingly, lovingly rendered.
Deftly shaded. Bone structure and depth.
Some are sheer outline, limestone showing through.
73 in all. One with blubber lips evokes
a hominid cartoon. The monster of God sensed
as manivore. Deity as predator. Jehovahís foreskins.
Zeus Lykaios. Behind sacralized violence,
the trauma of being hunted, and eaten. Check this:
animal holocaust of the late Ice Age
corresponds with the rise of war.
Cowl of the master dark,
its red breath heading west
toward a tilting vertical
"totem" of bison heads, spitted
like big furry bugs. Baby mammoth with
wheel feet. Hoofs seen from below? Full moons?
Body shaded smoky tan. Over it
a massive bison emerging from a fissure.
Two turned-toward-us bison heads,
one on lion haunch, one on lion shoulder.
Carnivore tattoos. Targets. Earliest body decor.
Drink to me only with thine
fangs. Energy I would induct. In dank
scrape light, as if Arshile Gorky
traced his life dark as lion space,
or Hans Bellmer, his erotic unending line
alive with orgasmís blocked flue.
Enkidu. Humbaba. Teelget. Hercules at Nemea.
Grendel "bit into his bone-lappings,
bolted down his blood
and gorged on him in lumps, leaving his body
utterly lifeless, eaten up
hand and foot." Astarte on lion back.
Artemis with a bull scrotum necklace.
Rhino with 8 oversized curving parallel horns,
as if drawn by Marcel Duchamp.
Rhino Descending a Lion Stare.
Stuttering horns. River pour of meated miles,
horns trestling dawn as red deer foam through.
See-saw of rhino bodies. "Central stripes"
make them look like "armored" Indian rhinos.
Sketchbook of this wall. Started, thwarted.
Body parts in fugal maze. Sacrificial diagram.
Palimphest of beasts and humans. No finish.
But finish is near. As I stand on this aluminum ramp,
a CEO is stretching his eyeball around the planet
like an interstellar Santa, bag full and off to Saturn.

Posted by Dale at 02:27 PM | Comments (2)