2 Poems
by Clayton Eshleman

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Black Paradise

March 4, 2008.  Antonin Artaud dead 60 years.
Sedna with hank of hair out one eye
watches over his seal body
bewitched into constantly transmogrifying forms,
Nkonde pierced,
daggered with Christ lips, lip
needles, a Calvary of interlocking math.

Sedna weeps cisterns of rote lore,
Inuit savoir-faire—
she offers homuncular Artaud a little sled made of fox bones.
Off he goes into the heart of my anatomical dilemma:
there is no new body,
only an imaginal corset gripping mortality-poisoned mind.

360 degree view of all of a life all at once.
Childhood crater & fetal Frankenstein.
Grotesque because whole. Carnival-
layered. Mythically dismissed.
Contradiction’s grindstone braying fragmentary precisions.

Is paradise black?
I had thought that it was lit by mother suns.
that paradise was mental war reviling what mother conception
prepared us for. Insurgent, virulent Franken-fetus.
Tiny black maggot of I am.
under Marseilles.
Human mind a relic of red deer horn loss.
“Body” of Artaud:
screaming scree of organless composition.

Sedna ever-present if the subconscious admits
Inuit sacralities. The nexus:
below the pour is flail & anti-flail,
what sustained Artaud through Rodez indignities:
am gripping am
without centerpole or central pull,
folding textual rungs enabling
the ladder to bind

For Laura Solorzano

Marinated in the brains of the mask,
I dip into paralysis & flicker embarrassment,
pregnant as a just-rammed mare
watching the stable collapse,
leaving me eight-legged, a spider-inspired equine jest.

A non-colonized Vallejo stares through dogalope & steer,
mask that is a bridge swarming with adjectival refugees,
a vault of facial interiority
congealing in the attic behind
the eye holes, a sty in which one might find

a hammerhead shark

wearing Hart Crane’s tan overcoat.