Search View Archive

The First World

Linked to indescribable power, to its shadow

analyzed by minorities who have, in my lifetime,

refused to remain anonymous—

"Until the missing story of ourselves is told,

nothing besides told can suffice us;

we shall go on quietly craving it."

Until now I read Laura Riding’s statement as referring to

something I did not know how to disclose to myself about

my life. Tonight, "ourselves" rings communal.

What is missing: the rock against which

I might place my shoulder

Allen Ginsberg’s "queer shoulder to the wheel"

Aimé Césaire’s task may be Sisyphean,

but to be able to push for a people, that in and of

itself is significant resistance—

To write the disappearance of what I am?

Pushing my void as the comestible of ghosts to come.

Clayton Eshleman


Cecilia Bartoli seems to taste her voice,

one moment a jowly barber, the next a gleeful coquette

As her neck muscles stretched

screwing her face up into a castle grotesque,

I saw a napalmed Vietnamese girl’s face—

showing through voice as speeded-up waterfall,

voice as jewelfall,

the frozen O hole

Scream strewn smile

In each scream

the screwdriver of early mind attempting to loosen

the bolt God sank into the rippling cuttable cords by which




almost fuse.


Clayton Eshleman


The Brooklyn Rail


All Issues