The Occupied Life




East Timor is “stable.” This must mean that the Indonesian Army,

supplied by USA, is on a rampage.

The beheaded are calm. The sky is fluttering a Pinochet kite

whose stabilizing tail is the knotted entrails of thousands.

Dressed up as a caterpillar, I am contemplating Tenochtitlan.

My butterfly belongs to the state, so I remain larval,

something you may notice to

the left of the broccoli.

Horst Haack writes:

“Very strange. Your September 11 theory is shared now by even the most popular magazines like ‘Stern’ and “Spiegel’ and nobody seems to care or bother. Everyone expects the worst from Washington. If a paper reported that Bush Jr. as a new hobby was shooting Arab-terrorist prisoners on his ranch Sunday afternoon, readers would believe it—show the President holding a gun and everyone would take that for proof.”

Never has personal life here been at

a greater discrepancy with

the state of the union. Never has the use of God,

in my lifetime, been more bizarre,

has Presidential glossalalia needed

so much translation, or simple inversion of meaning.

Never, Poet Laureate Gluck, was your post more ridiculous.

Never was Blake’s praise of Los

– “He kept the divine vision in a time of trouble” –

more sage.


And what might “divine vision” mean today?

“The imagination spans beyond despair…”


not God but integrity to the precipice of the instant,

adherence to the otter as well as to

the subconscious ballcourt of the dead.


So I donned my wasp-nest headdress and apologized to Gaza—

outside my workroom window life at large still looks swell.

What hypnogogic power lurks in that “swell.”

Turn on the computer, the pain chart starts to zigzag,

like a rip in Kafka’s kidney, it swells into plump, pulpy wounds.

And yet—the ivy on the neighbor Emily’s brick has never been greener.

This is the Bush junta’s steepest hope:

that neighborhood serenity will drown out the sea of blood

pooling in our awareness.


Clayton Eshleman                                    27 May 2005

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