Boston Review
table of contents
new democracy forum
new fiction forum
rave reviews
writers’ guidelines
bookstore locator
literary links


Search this site or the web Powered by FreeFind

Site Web


Grand Cascade

Out of the mother

urn the now ending

evers churn, they rhyme only

because I am free

here in fatal Gladys light. Let my kneeling

radiate my aging elfin sails.

Inbunched, outerflowered,

I am the hiss in this, the ripple wild

knoll in which my umbilicus sucks stones.

Paradise is part of my inherited billabong,

its stagnation, its warpings, are not my own.

Dionysus, let me not reduce or simplify,

allow me the wavering

miraginality of imagination,

let my fits and bits and catatripe

be venomous to the fake.

The body is a ruthless tribal compression.

Dreaming is less free than imagining,

for the dream factory has a quota:

certain roles are paid less,

someone has always forgotten to

oil the compost crank, the elf who runs

the umbilical bandsaw is always AWOL.

Every perception

enters an imaginal file, buds in arrest

until swayed by a life-shifting rain

or the blight of the news of

an unknown person's death.

For psyche, all bets are on nothing.

A fist slammed against the door

reappears as an eel in mourning.

A turtle who has just taken the veil becomes

the wind-filled sail of a wooden tub

in whose sudsy water one discovers one's genitals,

eggs to be fried on Caravaggio's canvas.

The vague is as crucial as the definitive,

the wave a part of the pier.

Whose genie does not accordion into Fudd and Marilyn,

then rebottle into Lautrec's cognac-

vialed cane? Clouds are brains,

chryselephantine scrolls,

or so the mind registers its Matterhorns

half-waking out of dream, when snow and sneezing

are as relevant as the cut rose

you place in my hand every time you speak.

—Clayton Eshleman  


Clayton Eshleman's most recent books include Companion Spider, a collection of essays, and My Devotion, a book of poems forthcoming from Black Sparrow Press.   

Originally published in the April/May 2002 issue of Boston Review

Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2005. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 | home | new democracy forum | fiction, film, poetry | archives | masthead | subscribe |