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

ON SUNLIT GARAGE FRONT
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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