L.A. Benefit Reading for Will Alexander

A benefit reading
with and for
Will Alexander

at the Skylight Bookstore
1818 North Vermont
Los Angeles
Sunday, January 13, 5 PM

Along with Will, Jen Hofer, Diane Ward, Matthew Timmons, Harold Abramowitz, Wanda Coleman and Clayton Eshleman will read.

A $10 donation will be requested, all of which will go to Will. Also, 25% of book sales during the event will be turned over to him.

& here is Clayton Eshleman’s poem for the occasion:


Here are some Soutine gladioli to stir your vinegar:
hankies grasping at
the airless black,
on stems smoke
frail, out of a
of a bowl.

I know something about your shadow traps
having just dropped in at Ypsilanti’s cephalopod brothel.
A cockatoo squid offered to instruct me
in the nature of what I need to do
to inject my energy into
the anchor buried in your navel.

Dear spirit of our wildest gales,
I sense you as an icicle up the anus of Hell.
I am sending you a wagon-load of what Anselm Kiefer calls
the first and the oldest metals of alchemy—lead—
the least pure, the most ambiguous, of Saturn,
ground zero of transmutation.

I am also sending you a Mousterian orchestra
of swallow gabble,
of mastodon skull drums painted with menstrual crosses,
of cloud scores crisscrossed by lark arpeggios,
a nose flute from Les Trois Frères,
a Siberian hip-bone xylophone.

There is a black Moby Dick cruising America’s white Hadal trenches,
attached by Oglala Sioux hatchet fish.
There are black Eshlemans and white Alexanders
exchanging fission in Aimé Césaire’s coral arsenals.

We must ask the poem for the impossible, locate
ourselves within this asking, spot
the Stone of Division, and then attaching ourselves to this Stone
articulate the amoebic split-off of the divine and the human.

For the imagination is a primordial hourglass of venusian sensuality,
a kind of double bellows ceaselessly expelling
(in the words of Lezama Lima):
“Image is the reality of the invisible world.”

A bison drops its human embryo into fiery snow.
Cro-Magnon eyes litter the rune-scape.
Rising through the tundra are rods of emptiness
dotted with meditating saints and poets, ping pong balls
hailing bop
over the luscious hiss of sin and be.

Why does the clock dial register 6:66 AM?
Is this a sign that the missing 80% of the cosmos is right around
the ayahuasca bend? But wait—
I think I have spotted your gnarl in the rudimentary
nipple of a bee. Or have I been hypnotized by
Dionysus on his boar tusk harp chanting
semen-honey lays?

Your meteorite is moaning in the eel-grass,
see-sawing through tubeworm prairies.
They undulate in vertical homage to your holophrastic triadic units,
your erection-set snap-into-place flowerings,
your field mouse parachuting between cat-pawed hemispheres.

Nothing, as active subject, is the key.
Can we agree on that?
Can we love the soul in all its resurrexit
end-blessed mess?
Can we imagine Banisteriopsis vine patterns?

It is out of nothing that, through heat and compression,
we make our bricks. Our bricks! Which are
the cosmic equivalents of stars—and the earth? It is an alchemical
fragment still burning inside, still being forged.

I am sending you some redbud pussy-willow rubies—
sew them, like eyeballs, to your back
in the manner of certain Maya underworld lords.
I am sending you an etymological halo, a solar threshing floor,
a microscope onto the horticulture of a ghost-roamed avalanche.
I am building for you a mask to strap on when,
suspended in the stroma,
your drum arrives walking on animal paws,
pregnant with intestinal tallow.

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