Jordan Davis


My sense of what you believe is subject to change without notice.

Bypassing the third rail requires the track primer to burn diesel and make
an impressive noise that goes on long after it has passed.

The words to this track are forbidden in the government building.

Asian strawberry brunette with toner cartridge in her lap rides the 9
train laughing with a friend.

Permission given to the entire world to pay attention to whatever.

The newspaper looks into the mirror as if it were a great distance.


Getting going in the morning takes the opinion off the principle of fresh
miles to plan.

It sterilizes the glance, and shrinkwraps it.

The morning continues to make an immense parfait.

The electrical plant of morning's extra dark makes an authority figure out
of fresh hostility.


River guards not gods.

They have beliefs about fire–that doesn't mean they believe in it.

A lifelong mistrust of italics.

Comparing two groups of neurotics.

The earth's local newspaper.

Just housesitting in this body.

Changing what I think or learning what not to say?


I sit among them with great pain and ask nothing.

Observing the mores of the society I want power in.

Laughing at those who have power over me.

Let's be clear–the pain is theirs.

Depression by contagion.

Contiguous present.

The beautiful fool returns from college in worse shape than ever.

He leaves to become a wandering singer and his family abruptly disappears.


Harriet Zinnes

Said Gertrude

"Look, look," said Gertrude,
"there are pansies, poplars, and peaches,
marshes, gorges, oxen,
goats, farmlands,
threshing machines.
Aretmare, Cesurieux,
Paulet, ruins, towers."

Will you look?
Will you look?
Or will you close your eyes,
place your hands on your eyelids,
and say, "Enough."



Edward Field

South Beach

                                             for Denise and Nick

Driving a bargain rental car in from the airport again,
I'm not here visiting my parents who are long dead,
but for a reading gig on a campus
built over a mangrove swamp–bye-bye alligators.

Also gone are the coconut palms that used to wheel
their windmill fronds in the breeze
over the whole city of Miami
and made it look like a tropical paradise,
victims of pollution,
though that word is never even whispered here–
the official explanation is a virus.
My mother who watched them die off
the years she lived here knew.
She also spotted the sewage pipes
leading into the blue waters of the beaches
and never went swimming again.

Checking into the hotel, I ask myself
what in hell am I doing here
among the shellacked young,
in this enclave of gay glitz?
Nobody with gray hair, certainly nobody my age,
is anywhere around, except maybe
that sleek lothario in four hundred dollar sunglasses
with a girlfriend his daughter's age.

I shrink from the sun.
My blood can't take it anymore,
while the young in their shorts and t-shirts
drink it in and glow.
I try to cheer myself up by imagining
I could be a film director–couldn't I?–
but nobody looks, except for the hustlers.

They moved all the people like me out years ago,
the old Jews sitting in rocking chairs
on the verandas of the hotels–
this hotel was one of them–
smelly and bug-infested but cheap.
It was warm in the sun,
that was what was important–
escape from the north with its muggers
and a cold wind that made your bones ache.

Defying my father,
my mother used to run away to Florida every winter
for a week or two to bask in the sun
and get a little male attention–pure heaven
for someone stuck raising six children in a suburb.
"Look where I came to," said my mother proudly
when they finally retired to the dream house in Miami.
She was born in a tiny village in Poland
and her life ended here, desperate for pills, booze,
anything to make it bearable.

All those old immigrant Jews in "the casbah"–
the shabby thirties hotels of South Beach–
half-forgotten, mouldering away in the humidity,
eating dog food if the children forgot to send a check
or cut off their allowances,
it was easy for the gangster developers to get them out
when they spotted a bonanza: Hey, let's call it Art Deco!
They moved in a flotsam of Caribbean refugees,
including the dregs Castro got rid of,
who preyed on the helpless old Jews
and scared the life out of the huddled remnant on this shore.
So their children up north were forced to take them away,
or they died off,
and this piece of real estate went through the roof.

This always was the Jewish part of the Beach.
When I first came here as a GI during WWII for basic training
and was stationed in one of the hotels,
north of us was a chain across Collins Road
with a sign that said "Restricted" to keep out Jews
and prevent any further migration up the island–
there was even a uniformed Rent-a-Cop, just in case.
But ultimately nothing could stop it.
We broke restrictive real estate covenants,
shoved that chain up their ass,
and finally occupied the whole island, even Bal Harbour,
the last, the toniest WASP enclave.

The South Beach waterfront is a-glitter now,
an international playground, lurid
with the latest celebrities and myriad camp followers.
My hotel, restored down to every detail, even the dinky sinks,
costs a fortune–someone else is paying, thank God!
I feel like one of the old Jews, who sneaked back in,
and right now, my college gig over, I'm even sitting like the old days
on the hotel veranda in a perfect copy of a rocking chair–
one of the rocking chair brigade.

Luckily, here's my ride coming to take me away,
to the airport I hope, not to the nursing home,
but you never know–I'll hold my breath
until the plane takes off and heads north.


Gene Frumkin

Working on Labor Day


This is Labor Day and I work

       to sustain my character

       against the contradictions.

               I observe Lincoln on his


                       in a green haze.

An American flag almost entirely

hides the Flatiron  building.

                       Red Pegasus

               flies toward a catwalk.

       Why on Labor Day

       do I try to track

               these impeccable sources?

                The woman swims
              toward Kafka’s grave

on dry land.  The most luminous


               in our mythology

is time enumerating the hours

               as we swing

                       from lighted match

                       to the woman

               in her narrowing sea.


       As I work, a veiling

covers the salt my eyes

                       blear out from,

               and I think I have


       When I kissed the woman,

a twist of the elbow extinguished

       her in such light

               that the quivery orange

                                       and black

                       swift of her hair

could not be observed even

               in close presence.

She played the clackers and when

the combo beat came around, her slender


seemed heavy-breasted

       as it rose into the danger

                                       of sex.



       the mood questions its mobility.

                       Psychology dotes

               on little children,

               shuffling toward sleep.       

                       Poetry enters its

primal phase as a labor

       to be fringed like a Hebrew

                               prayer shawl

       in the musty school.

What is to be asked for

               is an animal head

               nailed to the wall.


Traces of a subject remain even

                       in abstract


               where the colors

               are a dead giveaway.  The goat

                      complains too loudly

       about being stuffed to the


In the white hallway, the muzzled elk

       gazes into the mirror

       as if it saw the ghost

of its ancestors.  It goes on


               puzzled, as if it knew

this vision was its last.


               The hours pare away

what is left of time.  The woman

carries on, pretending to be


               although she is dead

                               to the world.

A stream bends in the middle.  I think

                       of her swimming


                       a mythical woman

                       made of mind-stuff,

       inhabiting the hours of Labor Day

with me, as I work, infusing her.


The margin is scrupulous, holding in

               what threatens

                       to go beyond,

                                       and now

                       it is tomorrow.

       I plan to sleep

       into autumn and leave

the animals to their playthings

                                       and graces.

A distant friend has shot himself,

                       perhaps for love.

       September 11 comes on again,

       which caused me a fall,

                                       a contusion,

rather a lack of good sight than the


                       crumbling engines.

       The hours pare away time.

Solitude is good for words’ arrival

                 and departure. 


                   with a debt to Robert Rauschenberg


Meat Joy

       This way and that way,

a moment to reflect on nature

       as the funding of indigent


               It is the normal things

                       that drive us crazy.

                               We can see



       in floral-patterned

frock, blue and pink as if

                               she could be


       The nature she embodies,

               while human,

is nonetheless a subtraction from

               windows we look through.


       Soutine’s “Female Nude”

               is a confession

               in brushstrokes

of an intensity more deliberate

                       than derivative,

notations that quiz nudity

               as a concept

       more intimate than


               To share a life

becomes a various proposal linked

               to a field trip

among the constellations.


Yes, we say, a good man,

a good woman.  A registered nurse

               who blushes
at the sight of a young, naked

Sex is a feminist correction.

       Soutine’s “Side of Beef”

       is almost tropical

               in the hard, European


       designed as a red<

       instance preferred

to violence cut in agonizing



               The wound is left alone

to die in limbo.  Carolee

Schneemann has lived with

The Dead Sea Scroll inserted in her


       so when unrolled from there

as a performance, the reading

                                       of it,

accounts for a moral decision,

               an aggressive offering

       to be deciphered

in feminist acoustics.  The word

               weighs no more

       than any law in crystal


In the framework of the French

               Pyrenees, Soutine


                       the Ceret


with giant, sometimes fierce,


       Somewhere else a woman’s


are big in a red firebox.

       Other women appear later,

       mad in rictus, around them

       the Furies attack

                       from their caves

                       with political flames.

       Soutine hides in his death,

suppressing the holiday that powers

                       from meat to myth.


With her body and thought,

Carolee Schneemann has organized

the disrobing of women as an


               in a society

heavy with approximations.

               Her “Meat Joy”

               professes a delight in


anatomy as a way to materialize

godhead for the good

                       of doubt’s debates.


               To judge her

is a job Soutine would have

                               left behind

               like an old country.

He might have used her

       to model an expression

               of art

       as a conjunction of the


                                       and eye

               to measure joy

               in the yield

       of provocation.

All art, he knew, coincides with


privacy and public desolation,

where mind is fervent in the raw,

primeval freeze that howls through






Zan Ross

Absolute Daily Disposable

These wide avenues, twenty fathoms deep
the whale hansoms crowd
arcade gaslight like death each shadow tells,
we are this depth   or surface explored
phrenology, barnacles on the back
sounding, sounding the sperm
blue   killer   right
whale sliced into, rendered the same as
read us, read us, read me–disposable
stories: we are all whores for 15 minutes

Elevated flesh detected, detective
Thar she blows! Surface,
beauty skin-deep, and what we have to
sperm   blue   killer
clues in the by-way, rendered, but
she mustn't   tell, read this:
blood flow arcs the Seine/Rhine/
Thames/Hudson/Mississippi, the Atlantic
sounding, sounding the
Persian/Chinese carpet/brooch/slippers/crystal
menu without price–consumption

we fall in military, scientific invest-
igation sounding, sounding
rendered to the largest common numerator
telescope/sextant–the way is clear
right     blue sperm
killer our on the avenue, arcade–read
interiors of whale oil lampshine, soft
as your thigh, Flaneur–go on,
detect me. All clues provided I am
nothing      if not professional

You are nothing     if not professional straight
commodity harpoon out, quill pen
poised gaslight–read the inside of my
thigh, lips and their interiors on the
off-chance, avenue killer
right sperm sounding, sounding
blue and brass the next morning
on the bureau, your keys/my key–
there's only one door. Clues
detect you in the crowd, Here and not
–flanerie on every table



Return from the Grand Tour, 1910

The memory is insipid: we're in a buggy. It's just rained and
mud is thrown against my skirts, or     it hasn't rained
for years.   Dust tears, sifts to my scalp. I can't
I'm dreaming
tinted postcards: South American macaws; vines of ruby
fruit; Italian hillsides; French country light on summer walls;
twenty European architectural substitutions for your
flesh against mine; but Calcutta cloth riots parquetry–
and I laugh as we unbolt banners of
silk from brown, paper parcels–the softness some
I turn my head.   You
pull the reins, turn your head.
It is     then     I
see     your delicate lips, the fine line of nose, and
after     you peel
gloves into my lap, I find myself licking long fingers–musk
sticks.     I claim you
for that one last representation of white, white
sheets, your limbs and mine and I think     how like
the young Oscar Wilde you are;
how like
Calamity Jane   I am.


Reflective Detail

Looking from the height of Modernity:
Vienna, Barcelona, Berlin reflected plate glass–
permutated vista Rococo details: funhouse distortion
Day of Dead,
Black Madonna,
flaccid hibiscus …
the beloved return on leather wings, rubberised
membrane visage– an origin of recoil, of
transmogrified hunger.
They return … They return …
cloak in substance:
scent of woodsmoke, eucalyptus/oak winter,
she oak needle pallet … take us in … take us in,
contrition fleshing grasp–the soft, slack warmth
against our palms.
Each time they follow us on glistening streets, pursue
from this errant balcony, that blown detritus,
we look into the centre of what remains and
see nothing.



Barry Alpert

Absorption & Address

     via Michael Fried

Antithetic emphasis on what I shall call "address"
but nothing in previous painting matches.
Surface content
of a boy crying out in pain.
Right corner is often a highly-charged zone.
Petrarchan poetry . . .
To be enjoying the experience of posing
is the best way to cut
off a head.
Neither the heads nor any

advent of a new, more urgent, more interpolated
determining, anyway a
dominant role,
remain on the board
ever so slightly. From behind
sits facing directly out of the painting
stigmatized as "theatrical."


M. Fried Absorbed

Man absorbed in reading

forward and to the left, our
intensely real with profound resonance.
Expression in any more openly demonstrative form:

absorption. But there's also a sense,
by absolutely minimal expressive means,
spontaneously do. Namely read that
own. Proves irresistible.
Relation between absorption and realism. That enters
because of the highly unorthodox treatment.
Eloquent appreciation of the
doubt;   the viewer's precognition of the scene.



Hugh Seidman

Composition: 2 Poems


Each day–synopses,
views, plots. You might ask whom this
strikes. Coat-pocket stone.

"O" mouth–under clouds.
Adrift, as from a perfume
ad; or, sipping all

planet tears. No more
yells in her head–far, closer.


Type, send–gone. Hundred-
year-old "Negress": blue-jean quilts,
hooked rugs from nylons.

3rd-world Vermeer–paint
on newsprint scraps, matchboxes.
Sly Emily, mad

Vincent, weird Henry's
comic-strip hermaphrodites.

Memorial: Burial Garden
                 William Holsinger (

Son-in-law's Wordsworth "Ode."
Granddaughter's clarinet "Rock of Ages."
Brethren brother's Armageddon eulogy.

Cabinet carpenter.
Newspaper deliverer.
Green bean sower.
Bendix brake assembler.
World War sailor.

One daughter's barn, field, I-80 horizon cars.
Prairie urn, sudden wind, dusk shade, immobile sun.
No hours but the conflagrated hour.

Venerated in his name.

Step stone, tomato plant, trumpet ivy, marigold.
Blue-glass-sphere sky/ground mirror.


Cassandra: West Street, Dusk

Fingers count.
Recount portents.

Bottles and cans.
Two store carts.

Homeless throne.
"Hour of Judgment!"

River barrier.
No metamorphosis.

Nail-head sun.
Placental blue.

Current fate.
None doubts her.

Throne: folded.
Carts: pulled.

"Cassandra: West Street, Dusk" first appeared in House Organ, in different form and with a different title.

Tiresias: 6th Avenue, New World Coffee

Bearded–wields cane, mutters.
Counterwoman cedes comp cup.

(Against violence?
From guilt?
For charity?)

Grimaces to his back.
But, for the fluke witness–what act?

Shopping cart, sandals, socks.

Badgers the male barista.

(Scorns her?
Quits distraught?
Offers the cash register?
Hugs Mother?)

Sky-honed buildings.
Young, old–roused past plate glass.

Whirls, rivets witness eye: "Onward!"

"Tiresias: 6th Avenue, New World Coffee" first appeared in Hanging Loose, in different form and with a different title.



Alvin Greenberg


when it rains it rains . . .
or not: you see the gray sweep of it
below the clouds over the road ahead
but when you get there . . .

between the sky and the earth
so much happens
both ways:

the smoke rising from the crematorium:
before you know it . . . nothing

the open mouth, the head
tilted skyward to
catch a drop

between the there and the here
you're still waiting for the ripples
from the stone you tossed
to reach you

and the trail along the forest path,
the finch-boy eating the crumbs he's dropped
to find his way home

ghost town: custer, idaho

"There will be no religious services tomorrow due to (a) the lack of a minister
and (b) the lack of a church. There will, however, be numerous poker games."     
                                                        The Custer Gazette
, 1886

first, the great dredge, six storeys high, shredding the river bed: a fat ratcheting steel
worm spreading its rocky castings across the valley floor as it chewed its way upstream.

saturday nights the young miners from custer, bonanza, sunbeam turned prizefighters and
battered each other, gloveless, to the floor of the saloon.

the whores, we tell ourselves, were angels of mercy, ministering to the sick, bringing
bowls of  charity to the needy.

here the children of the avalanche; there the boy who fell in the fourth of july flag pole
climbing competition.

and the justice of the peace, who abandoned his eastern law practice after his young bride died,
failed at the gold camps one after the other, earned respect for his fairness, his natty
dress, his drinking.

dredged free of their burden of spawning salmon, the turbid waters of the yankee fork
bathed all their wounds.

guided tours till labor day. after that, you're on your own.

Mary Rising Higgins

C Scapes | Dial Plane
                                                                3. Near Occasion
                                                                    Theresa Cha

                                                              Kore : core

                                        light beams bluestreak
                                   glass hair fibers from
                              which they cannot escape

                    although these days tele-
              marketers no longer
        call me where deer munch

      undisturbed the clearing
      loop edge snow dashed
      all day territorial chirping

     crow and red squirrel scrabble
         then sleep through late night
            tree fall and news distract

                  too much about W
                          about X a stage on which
                                                   I'm pleased to

      note your feelings have
               changed what does not
                       continually even the

                         dead change hidden
                                away transformed to
                                     devour heartening dust

                                        along teardrop jewel
                                        fields where poles
                                        wander gradually

                                     to braid earth's mag-
                                   netic belt tulip and
                                 tamarind trees provide

                            a make-do lyre box
                            I send you filled with
                  three-winged nightwhite
        bow sprung orchids

Kore : core : Shadow Zone

                                                                                                               as if space had opened
                                                                                                                                   I stammer
                                                                                                        into the moment vanishing


A weaver's hitch shifts loose ,falls free
from which she ravels quickly

before the coil draws tight again ,forgotten

circle pivot furl , surge fulcrum

day magnet altitude draws forward
through locale ravening pullout

far from neutral ground ,and of what use
against towpath and trust collide

like a feather of Maat where she weighs heavily

slippage catch and cling basin palpable ladings

red thread body traces uneven silence
she looks neither left nor snowwhite icepath in


forebode index ,a bead places just under
the shellfish mantle ,for instance

not enough to call out or work on forgetting

where long chain links iridesce rose nacrings

minutia account frames for so much they say
Gutenberg-Gutenberg spin juncture

wobble boundaries press and separate
altar fire : black divers ,to describe accurately

dial chance on the plane of chiasma

maidens column a Parthenon ,oxides repurl
to cat's paw triple crux harness

left foot forward under marble fold histories

Shadow Zone : Kore : core

                                                                                                  into the moment vanishing
                                                                                                                            I stammer
                                                                                                        as if space had opened

1 left foot forward under marble fold histories

to c(at's p|aw tri.ple crux h a r ness
maidens column a Parthenon ,oxides

dial chance on the plane of chiasma

al|tar f.ire : b)lack divers ,to de|scribe ac.curate(ly
wobble boundaries press and separate

Gutenberg-Gutenberg spin juncture ac)count fr a mes for so much t|hey say

where long chain links iridesce rose nacrings

not enough to call out or work on forgetting

the s (hell . f i sh man|tle for in.s t a nce
forebode index ,a bead places just under


she looks neither left nor snowwhite icepath in

red th )read body t.races un|e v en s i len ce
slippage catch and cling basin palpable ladings

like a feather of Maat where she weighs heavily
a)gai nst t o w . p a th and t( rust collide

far from neutral ground ,and of what use

through locale ravening pullout
day mag|net al ti t) ude d r aws for|ward

circle pivot furl ,surge fulcrum
before the coil draws tight again ,forgotten
f)rom w h i ch s . h e r a|vels

A weaver's hitch shifts loose ,falls free

where a mountain becomes a portrait][she ima-

gines the tenth planet Sedna's ice cold necklace

a simple bowl was how she wanted to think the

tension was held][hyperwings yield to suddenly

as poles in liquid might attract one another][di-

lute magnetic traplines thicken lemon tea drift

looking out thick window glass waves the road

in front of my table][where I am going locates

describe limits of extreme where a rate changes

equal to zero][where the energy equals courage

abrupt & discontinuous events occur][simplify

the cutwork as if two or three dimensions deep

don't look back][ look back which words might

understory by a finer or wider beauty I underlies

the visiting hawk waits hours to catch carefully

pluck then eat][we jog into upburst flock freed

and though it might be helpful to arrive again at

liftoff][inksplashed visions brushcast a retelling

how should confusion be avoided][if applying

C's rule subintervals as a constant circumscribe

copper beech leaves wind shiver][in afterstorm

at every airgraze tight lines hold flexed quaking

across my horse's tender mouth I pull the rope

so tight][paper and a pencil refuse to be found

unseasonable dry heat for morning migration][

a question mark like the neck of a tundra swan

breath paints thin air][not perfect but where are

you as pitch contours rise and fall depending on

speech lock where writing might clarify perhaps

][by Cape of Storms it has come to my attention

with your penknife on the dry hard quill make a

broad cut][red black pens will vary text spoken

a study in transformations][an order to indicate

relation may not show the motions' equivalence

though Anne says do not explain][Persephone

the chthonian aspect of Kore unfolds into Cora

a regional ligature from which so much about a

vowel slide opens ][in 180 degrees no polemics

she has a mouthful of the Beats with a variation

on extreme ][cold reed yesterday scroll displace

to the extent attachment affects][she places one

word beside the next thinking accident accident

denote CH][ let H derive a slope for C defined

on a set for which there is no real number limit

how many depends on repetitions permitted or

examples arranged][ permute as probable a C !

ask where I'm going looks out][by dazzle diz-

zied waves every roadside table window open


                                                      box you
                                                sent me
                                           takes flight
                                      in its own
                                 thirst bent
                             singing and
                           not to sing
                         only from
                        desire for
                        you as the
                          our the we
                            not to sing
                              only for                    or
                                 some stage                  during
kiltered                         memory
                                           coup skim                      fashioned
                                                           fever                            on
                                                                                 instead of
                                                                            the uprush
                                                    a throat body moors
by long hairtrigger featherings to smooth
mirror shards waked where we've been
with Games of Reach until the strung box
you sent me takes flight to carry its own
                                    thirst bent singing.

                                  to loiter
                                        under the
                                             sign at Mac
                                                     fluff fat
                                                     early April
                     wings                     ment
                   upright.                 frames
                 Stop                      caught
              thinking                  near
           locates                  the drive
        in                       through

        salt wound
              day smile speed flood breakfast booth
      why talks on whether weathering whatevers
  ordinary 70's airtape reruns though perfect
  information waits at any chess board.
  Time again for protest music we can dance to.



Notes to C Scapes | Dial Plane

3. Near Occasion

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, DICTÉE, University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2001. (Ori- ginally published by Tanam Press, 1982.)

"a C !" might be read as a possible outcome for C.

Gutenberg-Gutenberg: refers to Johannes-Beno; a seismologist named Beno Gutenberg identified Earth's shadow zone through which seismic waves do not pass.














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