Clayton Eshleman Unbuckled Tongue

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The Last Supper is a watermelon feast
each disciple with a tequila-plugged slice
and Jesus already with Isis in his eyes,
be slurped be slain —
to travel as a seed within another’s imagination,
arked with lithic freight.

The lunar light dims,
the stone softens. Are we still in
a pagan/Nazarene distillery?
Si, Hart Crane murmurs, from his trench off Tampico,
the stable is a flowchart of Jesus and bison exchange,
yet all takes place in an amphitheater
carved from the rudiments of shamanic protocol.
I hear it in the postponed Ann Arbor sky
as pre-emptive jets pop time.
So it’s bolgia within bolgia, a new Comedy —
cosmic structure no longer vortices and trinity,
rather: animating socks, suspenders, a laundry
bag of the mind. Fascism would rinse all to
techno-sheen. CEOs living in platinum grenades
littering planetary shanty-towns.

Note where your first line has taken you,
how each image appears to encyst another,
so that the poem is a mental cave under formation,
the political as the grit in the image water push,
anatomies reconstituting as thresholds,
chalice-shaped cul-de-sacs, the mind anchored and
willy-nilly. Stay aware of the 850 million starving —
such may help keep you honest when the self-censor
purrs: shut up. Unbuckle his tongue from
the door on your heart, show the world gash
but keep it in your own veins.

Like pinheads in a sunny glade,
JC and his gang are now in round dance,
watched by cranes. Dionysus is near
but so is Ashcroft, while Mother Theresa
cuddles a gigantic gangrenous ear.
Carnival is hardly farewell to the flesh.
In imaginal revision, it is the lambent stampede of
autumn’s rash, or Persephone rampant in
the gray November grass. It is the discharge
as the teeth of consciousness sink into
the etymology of gum
releasing depth charges into the mind’s ancient hives. Manifesto:
I am here like a scarab rolling my crottin through
death’s doorway ablaze with billions of golden grubs.
This is the trail I leave,
my wobble weave, analphabetic Lascaux.

This material is © Clayton Eshleman

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