It is a fine autumn Sunday and my tourniquet has just turned on.
Robert A.F. Thurman: “According to
Buddha, the reality of all things is
ultimate selflessness. And this experience of turning around in the depth of the
self from self-delusion and self-obsession to freedom and concern for o thers is the
fountain of Buddhistic energy. Possessing an independent self at the core of one’s being is a delusion. Selflessness
is a description of the
experienceable condition of the
living self, which obviously does exist, and obviously is not a static,
independent, isolated, or alienated entity. Seeing through the false sense of rigid self releases a person from
the imprisoning sense of alienation
from the universe. The Buddha
devised a host of methods and techniques to assist people to realize their own selflessness, freedom, and compassion.”
Or as Wallace Stevens put it: “losing in self / The sense of self…”
H.P. Lovecraft: “To know that one is no longer a definite being distinguished from o
William Blake: “The Spectre… is
Having a White Dot calld a Center from which branches out
From which sprang numerous branches varying
Producing many heads three or seven or ten, & hands & feet
Innumerable at will of the unfortunate contemplator
Who becomes his food such is the way of the Devouring Power”
“I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration…”
Once we have cast off
“A dynamic unstable agglomerate of skandas that in itself posses no inherent substantiality or enduring quality and that continues in constant flux until final dissolution at death”
selzer of self, the carbonated,
carboniferous antiquity of the
Sylph, or elf, as if fragments of self,gaseous particles that make up that “White Dot calld a Center,”
past lives, or dream incursions,
one’s chest as anvil on which a Muse-muzzled succubus crouches
pounding energy deposits into the helpless dreamer?
No, the dreamer is self’s help-mate, receiving, like 9 inch spikes,
these elf and sylph deposits, the souls of eaten animals,
one’s own dead, those who sip at the ofrenda feasts,
below conscious personality this trillion horde of butterflies pulsates,
a World Tree of sorts, drawing up through its fluttering trunk,
Is it this conglomerate
presence/ non-presence of
As I walk downgalleys are stroking through the liquid self that makes up my being,
the street, on different planes, in different
nebulous continuum open to incursion from
Who or what has assigned specific rowers to these galleys?
Some wear wolf masks, some are headless, some I’d swear are
conscious and subconscious spliced organisms—
hybrid animal souls swirl up in dream,
swirl here, in
Inspiration: shadow of
What I need is a topocosmic center,
an ever-evolving god to withstand
We no longer sacrifice bulls to Zeus, butpicks up Font-de-Gaume convexities,
The quest is always to abandon one’s starting blocks,to set fire to
to flip away
with all o
Northrop Frye: “Blake saw that as long as man lives within a hierarchical myth without really knowing it, his whole behavior will be conditioned beyonda rebellion against one hierarchy will merely set up a second one.”
the point of resistance:
Pierre Joris via Deleuze and Guattari: “The rhizome is an anti-hierarchical means of organizing knowledge and of recognizing intersections and engagements between seemingly disparate ideas and things. Botanically,
rhizome is a branching that has no ‘center.’ All segments are fertile. Any
segment broken off from the rest may
serve as a new starting point, a new origin of life.”
Frye again: “What is needed for creation is a new bicameral mind in which something else supplants consciousness.”
An identity inAntiphonal slingshots “mixing” day and night minds.
Honeysuckle sweet worm cast perfume interlacing arctic crystalline breeze.
A self-regulatory anarchy.
Not to eliminate self (as in Nirvana) but to become an infanite in
the infinite, infantrailed, permeated with the absence to come; engaging the
center, farewelling the center.
Minotaur wedlock. Lightning-bolt love.
Self as engine as well as brimming circumference. Self as one’s mind after and before birth: differentiated identity and
undifferentiated lower levels where specters from humanity’s past still dwell.
We emerged from a circumpolar spiritus rector, cloudy and ice-driven. The gods have animal minds. The totem pole salmon-raven-beaver-bear “folk” as DNA double helix evocation.
Self as selva, a liana matrix of twintwisted lingo.
note. The poem posted here is from a manuscript called Penetralia, which will be published by Black Widow Press in 2013. This fall, Black Widow will publish a large collection of Eshleman’s poems, notes, essays, reviews, translations, prose poems, lectures, & aphorisms, to be called The Price of Experience. Also in 2013 Ugly Duckling Press will publish his translation of Jose Antonio Mazzotti's book, Sakra Boccata, & Wesleyan University Press will publish his cotranslation with A. James Arnold of the original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aimé Césaire (in conjunction with UNESCO's 2013 Year of Césaire), which has heretofore only been published in a Spanish translation in Havana (1943). Earlier postings of Eshleman’s poems on Poems and Poetics appeared here & here, as well as a number of his translations.