While Drinking Coffee at Zingerman’s



Night of the Congo, wreath

of raped women, horrors beyond

augury,    here in Ypsilanti

it’s a crumbly basement wall surface, out there

instant communication of fate

massive poisoned umbrella, under which–stop here,

Peter Rabbit,    Eden is enfolded smoke, and the fox has entered

your sperm,   Rebecca Kamate

repeatedly raped after being forced to lie on top of

her chopped-up husband’s body parts.

She and her raped daughters then asked the Buddha:

is this what you mean by “suffering?”

Dilemma of this post hole in the mind,

dilemma of the absolute in any guise, driving prick

or camauro. Can’t allow religion or

any “spiritual practice” outside of poetry to direct.

At 74, I’m my own weathervane,

in robe of insomnia, and the sweet graze of

near sleep,    Caryl’s magically soft

underarm, a light rub, what we call “a tickle,”

watching Olbermann go after the Blue Dogs,

more commercials than news in 45 minutes,

fuck it, go to sleep, or drift awake…


Kevin Davies’ “Lateral argument” is Howl brayed fine,

compassion minced with fury,

rage jump-cut with loopy minutiae,

perceptively random, a brain like a cross-wired

crowd, a shunt between porous

intelligence and archaic imagination…


Is it a good that I can’t fudge a vision on the computer?

This great June 13thTehran crawl of jostle-winding being,

this cosmic caterpillar,    like Sibelius’s 7th    loaded

with finality,    V-fingered hands waggling,    overflown by

the angel Sorush in bright-green helmet, beaked seabird wings—

where was this “we” in Gore’s dazed 2000 election face?

Drain of religion armed with the bomb of immortality.

Churches the size of small planets on military bases.

Religion is the locked down imagination of eternal war.


Think of this life as your base, not as your subject.

Be grateful for the asymmetrical lettuce, the design of a bay.

See through hate: it is redolent with rejectitious dread.

Robin Blaser near his end wrote “Language is love.”

Not at Sobibor. Or even in a smashed abortion clinic.

Love and language copulate on an astral plane

penetratable by poetry.

And once poetry gets “in between,”

one needs the resistance of “Lachrymae Christi”

to withstand the penetralia.


4 August 2009


Clayton Eshleman




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