Clayton Eshleman: “Munch Dissolves”

Munch Dissolves

Something is always congealing,   seeking

group strata,   full wet skirt,

Gaudi in the cornerless sense of it,

Munch’s benders,   released of starch, but   of fixation,

opening the locks on

afterlife    death    this life

pooling,   deboning the polarities,

poling with Charon in

blood azure

“I came into the world as a sick being—in sick surroundings.

My youth was spent in a sickbed; life was a brightly lit window.”

César Vallejo: “I was born on a day when God was sick,


The moon’s testicular tube-reflection

transfiguring night’s indigo carmine lake.

Waltz with me, lung to lung. O darling, look!

Next to us, a green

larva is vampirizing his slumped booty!

Sister Inger’s speckled dress, splotches roving.

Clasped hands form an oyster-gray vulva before her dead gown.

Moonlight, holed up in pickets, passes through

a woman’s face whose eyes for an instant

escape its gangrene drench.

A road boas by a clump of girls on a pier.

Down through brown arboreal

reflection they stare into the Munchflow.

And what is the Munchflow?  The fetal thrashing of

those forever unfully born.

A kiss! Her face, consumed, becomes his beak.

Showing through their fused bodies: cobweb-thin cocoons..

O anima emanating separation!

Away from him she glides toward the shore,

her long hair a telephone wire that cannot be cut.

“People’s souls are like planets. Like a star that rises from the darkness

—and meets another star—only to disappear again into darkness—it is the

same when a man and woman meet—drift apart—light up in love—burn up

—and disappear each in their own direction.”

The devil’s footprints on the bedroom ceiling. Ghosts of the utter

failure of prayer.

A slimy, soft-horned snail, carrying a brothel on its back.

Pitch-rust river encircling Millie, then Dagny, under Munch.

Who called this woman Madonna?

She has elsewhere eyes, a menstrual halo, cum-smeared breasts!

“Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder.”

Stopped on the road

in darkness oleaginous as treacle:

a car with blood-red eyes.

Adam’s mahogany groin by a tree husk radiating fire,

whose root metabolism

suckles skulls, crocodilian mulch.

Pregnant Eve.

Tree once with its fetal wick a burning-bush.

Along  Snow Avenue, asparagus trees, blackening,

swirled in the caul of a wind

boozy with throttled

valves, aortic hives.

Sister Laura sits locked in perpetual, unanswered, large-eyed pleading.

Before her, a blood flower sucks nourishment from a circular table

whose blood-red patterned cloth

resembles sections of her brain.

O-shock of a fresh dead man discovering the beyond

is this world oozing through all its pores

like streaks of sky seeping through the path

upon which this shocked O holds his head and screams

arched by a sky coldly boiling with the blood of all

who have lived

O-scream discovering each

scream is intelligible, the slaughterhouse screams,

the insane scream, your sex opens wide,

a rugged candle refueling on gusts,

articulate flame in the trench of your sex,

flame shaped like a live woman holding

her earless head, her face ocellated with screams,

in each scream the screwdriver of the mind

attempting to loosen the bolt

God sank into it like a pitiless dry well.

April—August,  2006