Clayton Eshleman: “Zurn Heads”




head filled with fetal eyes.

eyes sharing lips.

head helmeted with eyes.

head as a geography of pores erupting, waves surrounding eyes.

there is no part of the head that does not see.

heads with no non-eye relief.


eyes appearing as the only peers, the peerage in things.

eyed & seek, the rills in the face

layered with bird heads, with ferned serpent ends.

with eye vaginal almond floats.

stay! is to girdle as eye bands are to the shuffle of the molting head.

granular disintegration of the tufted fabric of the head.

larval organs dissolving into cream.

say, has that eye apple been spayed?


congeries of eye lines shrubbing into insectile-feelered dark.

thong throng tong-drawn trowel of eyes.

art is to burgeon on its own stem beholden only to

the stamina of its lines.

mine composed of off-shoot eye shafts through which I twist,

accelerating through Unica’s fractal beetle,

seemingly designed as a Mandelbrot-set zoom sequence,

in which I re-encounter infinitely what I have just left.


if genes had faces and bodies would they twist like these?

am gripping am, can’t go on will go on,

without centerpole or central pull,

tendril limbs straying into a vanishing varnish roam.

the human configured as part of

the threadwork of

a spontaneous robe of devolving wraiths.


creation as fission. schizogenetic genesis.

no representational nexus.

dyadic primacy of the oldest gods.

gossamer nets to entangle them

so that they ferment, fructify as fruit flies, buried wasp queens,

millipedal elves moving away from each other

yet still attached by saliva strings, lacy scaled vapors

exposing the white, the gleam of never, into which

no one steps twice.


sense of a living midden.  

soul as the self buried and mixed with a living Other,

fauna flora particles of an ongoing sentence:

fullness is infinite fracture.

totems playfully wavering, as if about to shift

into double helix, to swim into the White,

to perceive, finally, the White Image.