The First Worldby Clayton Eshleman
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.
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