[N.B.: Writes Eshleman of the poem’s origin and rediscovery: “This poem was written after studying Weston La Barre’s Muellos: A Stone Age Superstition About Sexuality (Columbia University Press, 1985). It is dated 8 August 2010. It will appear in my book Pollen Aria, to be published by Black Widow Press, spring 2019. After writing the poem I forgot about it, and would have lost it had not my Georgian translator Irakli Qolbaia come across it online. How or where he found it I do not know. But he sent it to me and I recognized it as one of my own.”]
Looking into the telescope of the night,
with its vehicular cinders, its naked sea butterflies,
I contemplate the composted humanity
under me, or
of self, so latent as to be a dwarf lantern,
to realize what the male head means in my Sepik layers,
to kill so as to amass souls, soul strength of others,
NOTE. A writer of remarkable skills and insights, Weiss has written of the present venture: “I’ve joked before that my work isn’t so much composition by field as composition of field. A Suite of Dances might be composition by notebook.”
NOTE. The basic book for Haroldo de Campos in English is Novas: Selected Writings, edited by Antonio Sergio Bessa, Odile Cisneros, and Roland Greene, published by Northwestern University Press in 2007. While Haroldo died in 2003, he and his brother Augusto are widely acknowledged today as two of the truly major poets of the last hundred years, bringing poetry and poetics together.
[Best known among us as the cofounder (with his brother Augusto de Campos and Décio Pignatari) of Noigandres, the great Brazilian experimental and concrete poetry movement of the later twentieth century, Haroldo moved his work in multiple directions, to place him among the truly grand poets of the Americas, North and South, early and late, and in multiple languages.
“The Libido for the Ugly” is the title of an essay the great American journalist, H.L. Mencken, wrote in the 1920s about the land and city-scapes he felt had been trampled into nightmare and belittling destitution as we, a hundred years later, are being trampled by presidential edicts which are the most invigorated corporate crusades to undo our Constitution and environment we have seen in generations.