Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Aimless Reading: The E's, Part 14 (Clayton Eshleman)

Under World Arrest
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Eshleman, Clayton
Under World Arrest

Given to me by the author in 2003 upon a visit to Buffalo. Inscribed: "To Mike and Lori, in their new home." At the time, Lori and I had just bought our first house in the Black Rock neighborhood in Buffalo. We were about two blocks from Robert and Penelope Creeley's firehouse. They were only there a few months more before they moved to Providence, where he'd just taken a job at Brown.

Before he left, he had set up three readings for the fall that he asked me to take care of for him in his absence: Alan Loney, Tomaz Salamun, and Clayton Eshleman. We set up a talk for Clayton on Charles Olson at the Poetry Collection at the university and a reading for him at Just Buffalo.

I met Eshleman one other time about 5 years earlier, when Charles Bernstein brought him. I think there were two meals -- one was at an italian place in Williamsville and another down the street at a fancy french restaurant. For some reason, I was at both.

At the former, I remember at one point Clayton looked across the table at me and asked , "What's your vision?" He seemed to like asking penetrating questions like that. I think I said, "20/20." I don't remember if he laughed. At another point, we got to talking about religion and I told him I was trying to forget my religious upbringing. He told me that I should not do that, that it forms the basis of who I am and that later in life, regardless of my beliefs, it would become important to my writing. Guess what? He was right.

Sad, to say, I can now use the phrase, "later in life," to refer to my own.

from Under World Arrest

fluttermounting pigeon shadows
and in the shadows
      female outlines,
La Roche-de-Lalinde, 11,000 B.C.E.

    Most ancient women,
       the egg still to be laid
gripped in their protruding butts.

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