Do You Have Wasserman?
One asking do you
Any of you
Not the sort of
Walki in the snow
And you ask
Something food & soil based
Swet out in light
Everything could fall could
Reproduce the
Moment of a proletarian
All could agree on

I don't know how better to warn you than to simply explain that you can not go on living without Jo Ann Wasserman's poetry unless you want to be a wuss & pretend life is something other than what it is. She asks urgent questions that require immediate albeit impossible answers -- & implicit in the answers she provides are the opposite responses. "how do you know god wants you to win? because you have won." Her poetry provides you with the noose-you-can-use information that frames day to day existence in accurate if harrowing terms. Pointed poems on how we got into such a state and what maneuvers, manifestations of awe amid the seen it all we can make next. Her phraseology & reasoning is as relentless as it is complex "-- the lines are emergencies within an emergency & are filled with the heightened & accelerated awareness of the Wasserman Intensity.



Vacations with Tony
There back over the cover
Of the battle when a
Number of his
Take part in
Orchards of sociability
Who were already
Listening in
Elegant space

I was talking yesterday with some people abt being immortalized in other people's poems -- of poems as a way of defeating death & abt how its not as common now as it was just a few years ago. Tony Towle's been immortalized in just such a way in many people's work, notably through Frank O'Hara on one dementedly hot july evening & he's returned the favor many times over. Entering a poem of Tony Towle's is not unlike entering a crowded loft rife with fast moving conversations. Tony, the assertively humble host is only too delighted to take your elbow & lead you to the best spots to eavesdrop from. He's the playful guide through sometimes rancorous waters, the urbane connoisseur of sudden transformations, the captivating impresario of creative friendship & chronicler of happy accidents in a world where nothing is accidental.



Begins to run
I was laughing
like this mist that comes
lumbering -- a thing never seen a
king how like life
unsung & anonymous
here the sweet
no one else
encourages them to
ring princess

Bill Kushner has always wanted to be the thinly veiled, but instead he finds himself like the rest of us, aliens unto ourselves. His extraordinary new book In the Hairy Arms of Whitman, is a collection of lyric sonnetoids in search of a world where their language is the normal language of everyday speech. But what would such a world be like? A lot saucier than this one, for starters. The poems, a panoply of loss & the not yet attained, play out against a backdrop of sexiness. A backdrop we are all made aware of, the way some sailors are always aware of changes in the red sky at morning ahead. Someone's always gone in the morning in Bill's work & its not him. Yet, despite the melancholy there's always someone beside him to whisper his asides to. Every privation holds in it the thing itself. Sometimes delirious, sometimes rhapsodic he explores the difference between types of love, between serious and glorious. & even in an urban landscape populated by the sighs of tragic figures awake in the wee small hours, everything is forgiven & everything is alive with anticipation, for the degree to which we are Whitman ourselves is the degree to which we are all as one.



That's how
maybe uncertain of welcome
he complains of elusive beauty
of coral, a passing mammal
large words on cows
my best friend turns
a freight train through a
new house

AMY HOLMAN is a 24 hour writer, constantly recording the ways in which people around her carve patient connections through the mountains that divide them & observing the ways in which those connections expand her own secret ideas about them. Her reservoir of memory flows through an underground network, a system powered by time itself & guided by a wilderness of totemic animals, a sustaining wattle to the thach of ideas that link separated relatives & friends whose blues are beyond repair. Her work is haunted by absent figures & people who live on the other side of unsurmountable chasms yet her writing -- & her work as a mentor to countless other writers -- her work has been relentlessly to bring people together & help individuals find their ways. How many writers owe their evolution, owe a closer understanding of their own callings, how many people owe that to Amy's ongoing work? Well, tonight, you can add us to that list.



Kitchen table
As if there is a
Religion or an
Escort a
New self
We are drawn
Is half the way
Evidence of

Eileen Myles once said "everybody/has one missing piece/and all the beauty's/about it." On the cover of KAREN WEISER's Eight Positive Trees are seven trees and her work fills the space between the title & the image. An object contains a fixed order within itself & an observer can sum up is comforting, immutable essence. Karen's human universe lives in the negative space described by & between objects, where genesis is constantly at play, identity is in a state of becoming, stasis is impossible and all statements are replaced with questions -- sometimes ecstatic sometimes unbearable but never at home within the finite confines of an answer. Karen's is the work of a person who's undergone transmutation in the retort, projected from one identity into an unknown & it carries with it the vision to comprehend the changeable, the way trees do over time & from every perspective. Within a seemingly cohesive person there are many fractured identities, chosen & imposed, emerging & vanishing, sometimes integrated, sometime irreconcilable. Between seemingly separate individuals are invisible fields that permeate & connect them into one shared self. How do you comprehend loss when what's lost is a self to do the comprehension? The catastrophic evolution of Karen's work reveals every state to be a chrysalis to the next. It reveals identity as telemetry, as change over time & not the individual's exclusive domain but cooperatively held by every other person moving by your side.



Tracey Among the Devils
Tongues french kiss the translator
read the fine print
all age
chipies with sentient
yr faith
"m" broidered in gold
change the values
the other woman
and servo hips
girl fights

There are a lot of things I could say about TRACEY MCTAGUE & will in my unauthorized biography. But let me start this way: Unless you see the connections that join all of us, unless you come to understand that we must hang together or we will all surely hang separately, unless you realize that the contingencies of your identity are secondary to the fact you are all alive within a system that prevents your identity from flourishing, unless you manage to arrive there, TRACEY McTAGUE will fucking kill you. Boundlessly compassionate & aggressively discerning, Tracey's poetry is the writing of a Buddhist Assassin. Not that her beliefs are circumscribed by one spiritual system or that the charges against her have ever held up in court. Not, in fact that her work could be contained within any tidy category. In fact, she writes against the constraints inherent in identity itself. Writes against it because of the limits a name tag puts on your evolution, & also because of the arbitrary & divisive boundaries any one identity places against people of all other groups. & she explores the terrain of the priviliged few who exploit those differences to keep us divided. Her work isn't explicitly political as much as it is aware of larger context, the Baraka, the Net of Indra in which we are all suspended. She draws on many cultures & systems, from African-American Hoodoo to the mores of low life Brooklyn. Her work constantly pushes away from the self, using the private tools of corporate malfeasance, suburban pod life & isolationist identity poetics against their owners. She is a dissident against complacency. Complacency that reduces people to drones 60 hrs a week, that has been at war with one Iraq or another for 200 years, that replaces the spirit with consumerism in a self-perpetuating cycle of having to earn more to buy things to make up for the time spent earning more. Complacency isn't merely treason against the not yet born truly democratic nation, it's is a form of suicide. & Tracey's work is an antidote that turns the spontaneous mind into -- to borrow here from Woody Guthrie -- a machine that kills fascists. Some people look at America as being filled with idiots & run by maniacs. Tracey thinks of it perhaps more accurately as a great unfulfilled promise. Right now the beast is all belly & we are all in it -- it's dark down here, but what better place to organize, unseen, than in the center of it all. I've been informed she's going to take advantage tonight of both the Talking & the Reading elements of the Zinc Talk/Reading Series -- she'll start with a five or six minute talk on some research she's been doing & then read some connected work.


James Otto & Robert
Right now & why not
Our living everything
Brings these new
Eyes to smile &
Roll down
The difference
Honor at my
Raft for a headache
He totals your
Oddities: my years as a
Notebook in the cab

BOB HERSHON understands the adept mind of the observer, the slow urban ambler, the loitering guy on the corner. He climbs a ladder & peers into his own house, in a deck of cards he sees the passage of years. He wants to get to amazement but not through simple faith -- instead he uses all the techniques of forensic poetics in his extensive laboratory. The seemingly effortless Hershonic form, the anecdotal aside, the poignient inquiry disguised as a joke, the no nonsene conclusions within a pithy narrative. Heartbreak in an affable poem, all the more devastating for the context. His ready acknowledgement of flaws confers a nobility on himself & on the people of every city he’s passed through. The proud walking pace of the poems, through obliquely connected streets from Paris to Brooklyn, yields up a poetry of keeping your head above water when, you have only enough of a language to say I’m sorry I don’t speak the language. Bob’s encapsualtions of scenes or individuals contain a persevering, empathic connection in the face of loss. He holds up James Boswell or Otto Leuben, the German Lunatic, as totemic figures connected to his own lifetime of practice. Brilliant chronicler of the age, insane obsessive pursuer of an arbitrary task, Bob draws connections between his path & the ones traveled by others. & in examining the common threads, he provides us in this very room with the means by which we can know we have everything in common & what that shared everything is that we all have.



More North
Hotter than meat
Are you more
Round or
Every peeling
Sky appears
Nested against
Opposite ways of behaving of
Responding to questions
To be . . . a kind of nothing for a moment
How anyone comes to live

How does it sound to praise a poet for being a master of damning with faint praise? CHARLES NORTH is able to do just that, exposing the implied behavior behind what gets presented. The void that exists even if you insist it doesn’t. In North’s landscape of ordinariness, the deific get cut to size, adjectives become the nouns they always were, frozen forever in the service of illuminated flatness. In North’s investigative cosmology most people who think they have all the answers probably do, but most of them are wrong. With the illusion stripped away we can get down to business, we can question what might be lurking behind the smooth move, the nice touch. Qualifiers drive the language & attributes come before the thing. It’s a phenomenological leap beyond the veneer, a leveling of all distractions & contingencies that allows him to escape solipsism. His poetry gradually disrobes the belief that a thing exists in front of you because you say so. It develops an ontology that has being in-itself -- beyond any individual’s ability to cook up what he or she wants. He creates an implicit taxonomy that strips off the nearness, the almost there, the not quite, to make room for the actual collision.



Eddie Berrigan Approacheth
Empty seat in the
Desert wreck
Drive up to
My jar of change
Underdog, my
Dawn’s equilibrium has the
It was time to ride the
Again without love or

To slip into an Eddie Berrigan poem is a little like slipping on a fur coat except without the obvious moral problems. Like waking up on the sidewalk of some unknown neighborhood where everyone looks out for everybody else. The question is how do you get into Eddie’s work? The answer, brothers & sisters, is: yr already there. Turn out the lights when you leave.



Jars of honey
Of summer hail
Hunks at the cafe
Narrative -- as though
The weather
Reluctantly shifting
Now a
Enjoyed all delusions &
You can forget time, but time won't forget you. John Tranter's fragmented inner monologues live amid moments of small decisions & incidental judgments. The inventory of a life made up of such moments. The slow accretion of character. The diagonal & disconnected relationships of teachers & preachers towards their flocks, the resistance to & indulgence in, nostalgia, between older figures with fully realized identities & emerging individuals without a self of their own . The clarity & alienation inherent in looking back on young love from a perch years removed gives his work a psychological & disjunctive tension that grants even the diminutive elements of a life a kind of mythic stature.




Continue simultaneous with
Hat offensive &
I didn't sign up for
Moon thought
A word with
In the handicapped

If Chris Martin were a machine would you want him as a companion as you grew old & yr senses began to fail, or while you were just starting out & full of wonder? When would it be more useful to have someone point out nothing is as it seems, that what you sign up for is not ever what you end up with. In Chris' hopeful cosmology, everything is a potential entrance, a door behind which you discover the lady is the tiger with fragmented grenadine running through its slippery veins. Integrity is a fragile interlocking system of plastic & hair the color of pale corn. On this planet, most people know how long they've been here but don't know what here is. Well Chris doesn't know how long he has been in this place, or how long it'll last, but here, here is Chris Martin.


Nada in New York
Not on
A thigh
Draw the breath
And your figure
Groin to your
Rough in
Of what there is to be
Not here

Even after years in the Bay Area, years in Japan, NADA GORDON is still in a kind of exile. But it’s a spontaneous-mind exile that allows us to see the importance of distance and absence in facilitating communication. Only if there is a gap between subject and object can there be tendrils to keep them together. Her work is extremely sensual, transforming abstractions & emotions into embodied talismans of the five senses, defining the indefinable in terms of touch, smell & so on. In that context, beauty is less a thing to possess & more a guide, the body and its senses, sexuality in all its forms are made into mentors. Her poetry is overtly an examination of constructions of femininity & of the self, but covertly about the distress and conflicts at play within that realm. & in fracturing the individual, in creating & spreading the distance between the parts, she makes evident the motives behind behavior & desires in a way that's much larger than just the self, that makes love make sense in all its off-key hymns & water-damaged sexy icons.



Ornithology of Marianne
Mage on each side
A bird in flight
It, the object that yearns
And cannot be seen
No longer
Existed at all
Sprung up in
History books
Apple of my eye
Each day
Never existed at all

MARIANNE SHANEEN wants to know what you are getting at when you say information. Her work is a network within the network that connects modern to vestigial, the open to the encrypted & that creates new meaning out of the failure to connect. How does communication collapse? No sender, no receiver, sender & receiver the same person willfully split in two in order to talk. Intercepted messages replaced with forgeries. A radio in an empty house, the ring of an unanswered phone, a blog nobody knows. Even in successful communication, how do you overcome mediation & return back to touch? There's catching a carrier pigeon, running your fingers over a Braille directive in a World War I trench. But Marianne's after something more intimate, that is, the dangerously tactile power of gaze, of the eye putting something onto the thing it sees. Of objects & people giving up their elements into the eye. Her poetry manipulates the ineffable medium that carries the physical through lines of communication, through the ether which reveals all mediation to be illusion & allows phenomena like the covetous evil eye to operate and the mano cornuta, mano fico and hamsa hand to wave it off. Please allow Marianne to perform her operations upon you tonight & you will be happily transformed.



Sometimes Inspired by Corrina
Connect in a hill
Of self
In relation
Next to a
A red
Peeking through behind the

CORI COPPS’s writing lives in the space between the rationed rational self & the fluid state of multiplication. Her colliding fragmentary arguments are populated with characters who rest for a moment in fixed roles, from monk to whore, investigating what life might yield to this set of particulars. The animate & inanimate reach an accord across the long, quick lines of her writing. From a mannequin’s point of view, even the smallest of human actions are agents of transformation. From a human’s it’s just the constant struggle between morality & the senses, between wicked in the biblical sense & wicked in the skater sense. The struggle between ought & is that can only be half-understood & never resolved.




Jumping jacks
Neath my tee shirt
Right one
One night
But one night
I swear
Night I
Said Ōhow
Open and

JEN ROBINSONÕs the kind of person whoÕd publish a book called For Connifer Fanatics. Then, after 5 years, republish a completely revised version in an edition of one & give it to a friend. In Forc Over the Fanatics, as in all of JenÕs writing, there is no tunnel at the end of the light of her obsessive passions. ThereÕs no extinguisher strong enough for her blowtorch-in-the-desert curiosity. Be it the inner life of horseshoe crabs or the infinite elasticity of language, Jen is a first responder. Her paring-down of text to near wordlessness gives language the space few relize it needs to expand into a life all its own. ThatÕs what happened with the revision of Mambo Lesson:

Here I am standing
on the sidewalk
watching for your litttle blue car.

Fire trucks came
and went.
It’s cold

when it became


I am standing.



It Was Andrei
and look up to
dirty red restaurants
eat all your
of anarchist
dollar bills
radio said
each step to the Capitol
city's living rooms
understood & became much

When you've been through enough challenges, when you've seen enough attempts to smoke out what's best in humanity & you find yourself still in one piece, yr given optimism as a kind of parting gift from the inert, insulated world. ANDREI CODRESCU has intersected with history in such a way that nonchalance & lightheartedness are perfectly intelligent & honest responses to new frames & senses of scale. His position as exile & as composer of work across every category, places him in the indefinable but altogether clear terrain beyond any one system's clutches. The liminal land where all cultural icons, be it John Lennon or a pierogi from Kiev on 2nd Ave, can be brought together in ways both absurd & reverent. He's a sociological gumshoe who investigates entire cultures by taking them out for a hot meal on a snowy night, or a cold drink on a sultry one, & gets them to talk. He makes connections between worlds that an occupant of either one could never make - One December night he looked up & saw the windows of Bellvue Hospital looked no different than any other apartment building's here in Manhattan. & On this cold December night I believe, he'll be leading us out of Zinc Bar & into some other buildings, buildings that contain all the missing 13th floors of the world. Put your best shoes on & try to keep up, here's Andrei Codrescu.



Todd in the Ass Factory
toxic but hardly
on me Clean me
claim I only work
on the bed & none of your
little wars
bike over
you for dinner tonight

When i first heard TODD COLBY... had been murdered by another poet, I was concerned -- because Todd was the one telling me this. With Todd it is never clear whether that's a mask or if it's the seductive, boyishly chaotic face of calamity into which yr staring. Some people are alleged to have work that takes risks, but it will be you the listeners who will be doing the risk-taking tonight. Todd's work is demanding, not in the traditional sense of stemming from a confounding theoretic base, which it does, but in the way a man with a gun is demanding, or a train coming at you is demanding. If you want to continue having your picnic on the tracks you have made a very brave decision. Years ago, at Todd's first appearance at Zinc, a person actually got up and left in the middle -- not sheepishly like people typically leave a reading but completely schitzed out & needing to get back up to street level where people pretend everything's fine. Be warned: Todd will welcome you into his poems & show you around before announcing he "forgot something" outside & will be "right back" & then you are there all alone, in the extremely dirty & illuminated world of rank & filed-to-the-bone situations, a world of hilarious & anthropologic nightmare that comes with instructions & advice that will only get you in deeper. If there's a prickly feeling on your arms, if you see yourself veering towards the unimaginable conclusions of seemingly innocuous initial conditions, then it is too late for you to be helped. Todd can't slow down the speed of light any more than he can eat a wafer & shit out a new savior, but he knows people who can & they will take care of you. They are your new & only friends. He has no need for cops or sleep, for order placed on the inchoate world. There may be darkness up ahead but Todd Colby has got our backs.


In the thrall of anna mockler
Aerobic levels
No really look at them
No phone booths on the moon
A male form
Offer him a
Keep sugar on a
Life in ordianry time
Reversable situation

You have to make mistakes in order to learn from them. Anna Mockler's work runs through the inner debates of resistance & of giving in. Of the need to abdicate control. Of knowing the event won't match the expectations but allowing it to happen anyway & insodoing to rupture out of quotidian life. There’s a sultry whitewater rapidity that runs through Tara's work – a current that reveals not helplessness against the outside world but against ones own evolutionary track & momentary passions, the instances in which rationality gives way to instinct & the most important lessons arrive only when we ignore that most sage advice.



Walk This Wray
This food fact in
A funny state
Really much closer
And for a minute
What was that last
Really mean
Afternoon a
Year longer than I really wanted

Tara Wray’s work is illuminated by brief flickers of recognition & sparks off star-crossed wires. The strongest connections between
people are the de facto distant ones, impaired through geography & unspoken insurmountable conclusions. Her characters are aware of
alternative ways of being in the world, but the difficulty of ripping down a carefully constructed well-insulated cosmology to make way for a new one is often enough to destroy the destroyer. Tara captures individuals in the moment their haunted past returns to them, the moment we can witness the source & rationale behind all their decisions... & the moment all that could change forever.



Help Chris McCreary
Crouch or crawl several
Humid conditions
Residing in
In the work
Makes him feel strange
Common sense
Entombed among the rabble
Another moment
Rather doglike
You say

Chris McCreary lays an idea inside a host where it secretly feeds until it hatches. Within any system are encrypted voices of protest & dissent that wear the system as their own face until the proper moment. He's aware of lineage great & small, from the poem that's based on the collision of big traditions to the phrase that can only exist on the heels of the just-written line above it. His work leapfrogs from moments of lyric vulnerability to vortices of high speed parataxic surrender. That's Chris playing variable footsie with you under the table even as he pours you another glass of spiked wine above it. Can you trust a man who's only too happy to pull on the frayed end of language until the whole baggy sweater, your favorite sweater, is a pile of thread? Oh go ahead, because here he comes & you have no choice.



Mark's Correspondence School
Moment of composition
And loss
Knocked me off my horse
Without a younger
Love A
Long trip along technolo-
Along the
Calling of
Evolve or revolve

In that first disoriented moment when we find ourselves floating in space, we all have floating in space in common - but we all go our separate ways, speculating & exploring our own areas of concern. Despite our differences, Mark Wallace's foundation for a metaphysics of evolution apples equally to each one of us. Is basing your life, as many of us in this room have done, on a useless concern a sign of our stupidity? Or is it that, what's taken to be useful & good, is itself a model for stagnation & slow decay? Against an unstable background, the aim for a human is different than for a poem or a factory but the exploratory process by which each speculates & discovers what it is they are supposed to be doing is equally necessary. What's the best way to peer over the horizon to discover what, amid mutable, tenuous morals & inexorable mortality, to discover & navigate what you should care about? Yr distracted right now by some anxious thought. Everyone has their own concerns imposed upon them & so everyone has something to transcend. We're all floating in space & have no choice but to head in some direction, so what'll it be? Well, for the next half hour let's face forward, forward towards that distant sun Mark Wallace.



Jacqueline Waters vs. John Donne
Just a bunch
A bunch of
Up to your
Elders your
Now I
Without relief
As stars
Though the
Streams away

Jacqueline Waters has the disassociative visionary awareness of an epistemological philosopher in a busy downtown forensics crime lab where the evidence that will crack the case is jackie herself. In Jackie's work, everything we gaze at is brought to life through the energy we give it & there's no clear boundary between inanimate objects, living entities & one's own self. When your proprioceptive sense extends miles in every direction & determines, not just perceives, the nature of everything in it's path, the guiding principles of the universe run in some very new directions. To the extent yr perceived, you exist, but are also hemmed in. To the extent yr invisible, yr completely free, but are also reduced to nothingness. Jackie tacitly explores the fundamentals of sentience & living ontology, of vanishing on one side & imprisonment on the other - & uses her work to create a new metaphysics that permits autonomy & engagement to coexist & build on one other.



Cedar Sigo faces Broken Windows
Cakes of
Applaud for
Sorry thinking
I own this
Guess I'll smear my
Once automated songbook

This Guy, Cedar Sigo walks into a room, your room & reorders everything in it before you have a chance to say who are you & what are you doing in my house? In his work his statements are questions in disguise & the questions are commands, issued with the confidence of someone who knows consciousness well enough that he can walk into it with all the lights out, grabbing what he needs & reemerge a moment later with a new explanation for relationships & the context in which they take place. Its a work of extreme? Total erlebnis. The you and what army? of his work reflect less mistrust of received wisdom than emphatic conviction of his own - his clear sense of how things fit together & the implicit belief that the head to toe equity of human experience belongs to nobody, but that everybody has the right to take liberties with it if the liberties move things along. He won't take nonsense from you & by the time Cedar's done tonight you won't take any from anybody.



Of Denver
Need a place
You need a place
From the
Silver and
Responsible for keeping

From New Orleans to New York, Tonya Foster's work investigates the way cultural phenomena are internalized. How they can be used to ensnare or can be retooled as elements of liberation. How the effect of rigid control systems & social organization yields a phenomenology of problemetized & concrete hermeneutics. Whether addressing the family or the nation, her work emerges from the contextual factors & elements that determine how information & identity gets communicated, handed down & channeled into specific courses. Her writing in lungfull addresses issues of race & the manufacture of the individual into a concept, as filtered through the controlling lens of sociology & law enforcement.



A lightning storm in Brooklyn destroyed the computer containing Eleni's introduction.



The very same storm had it in for David's intro too.


Brenda & Her Antecedents
beside you
rare material
down to a core
a total
a streak of light

Thin air is in great jeopardy when brenda iijima's around. With a keen sense of the connections between poetry & sculpture, she's ready to conjure marvelous objects from out of nowhere. from emptiness she designs gorgeous books & from an unfurnished span of time lyrical poems that, despite their fractures & their displaced axis, are rife with destabilized sentiment, unyielding connections & emphatic tenderness. Under it all is a structure of axiomatitc relationships -- an understanding of definitions & existance, an understanding of not just what but whether the things you see before you really are.


The Dalegeeta Sharmard Story
sorry about the
a destitute
a color
high in the
ever burning
rule out emotion in favor of
resistance to the

Prageeta Sharma is a poet & novelist who's work explores the intimate myths & allegories we create to explain our own lives to ourselves. She investigates the sources of desire, the hidden motives behind behavior & she assesses them to see how things might be different. In that she reveals the secret wishes you harbor & the way in which those wishes can be antithetical to what you admit to yourself, her writing is an agent of change, of removing obstAcles, of anticipating what you might ask for & having it at the ready.
Dale Sherrard is a musician, a sound & visual artist, a writer who's work contains, behind a geography of well-crafted, clever, provocative, even antagonistic forms, contains behind it a ocean of compassion & empathy, of the intuitive understanding that arises from a life on the wrong side of the tracks, the inside of the tracks, years of acrobatically difficult positions & thwarted schemes. Behind the great formal inventiveness & mad skillz, dale's work is fueled by an array of spirits whose truths are so demanding none of us in this room could listen to them directly. But they insist on being heard & have selected dale to be their unblinking envoy. I usually have an idea, if only a wrong one, of what is going to happen but tonight is different. I've heard their work individually, but never in collaboration & it's somehting that I've been looking forward to for a long long time.



New Personal Buck

being a money problem
could not even wait to
knock it off
define what is
on all fours
new personal
surplus plunging

I have a box in a drawer in my desk filled with Buck Downs new personal problems. My Buck Box, filled with the postcard poems he's been sending for years provide a collective glimpse into the intelligence that carries on through minor disaster, foibles & mistakes. He flips the machine of the expected upsidedown, flying achillies head over achilles heel in love with what life could be were it not for how things are. The indelible ephemera of postcards from the sunny shores of consciousness lets you know that, wherever here is, & whatever kind of a time he's having, he's thinking of you & wishes you were here. Well here we are, ready to give a warm welcome to Buck Downs.


The Tom I Know and a Tree
of love and a
distinguish between
and three fingers
no reason to
enter the problem
you don't have

Tom Devaney's luminous acuity lies within his range of intimacies and adulations, of encomiums nested within descriptions, of elegiac reverence for his surroundings. He has nimble awareness of lineage, of debts owed to those who have cleared a field so that we may lie in it comfortably or explore the outskirts more critically. His essays & poems are ones of prolific critical rapture & of friendship without boundaries. Behind the clouds above your own work, Tom hides, waiting for the right moment to emerge & affirm the world you've made & the sky above it, the sky which is, for Tom, the limit.


k-point almanac
elevations in the
in the
no there there
alpaca of the
not at all omniscient & without

In Kevin Varrone's work, there's a backhanded encomium behind the slightly warped wood of every salvage yard door, the vestigial mansions in his rhapsodic, heightened language. Few poets writing today can tackle the sublime, the noble spirit, but Kevin's transformation of urban artifact to natural force & back again makes it seem dishonest not to. In his emergency room pastorals, his post language swoops, he identifies the points in the fabric on the verge of tearing & gives them a good yank to reveal what's behind. Please help us pull back the zinc bar curtain on Kevin Varrone.


Andrea Baker's Letter
a roof on the
return to
edges of our own
as if a

Andrea Baker turns Ezra Pound on his head, redefining the thing that she provides direct treatment of as something elusive, perhaps even impossible to reach. She places straightforward, declarative language into a heavily modified world, a world in which the manners & clothing, the illusions & veils people project are all we have to go on, yet she moves past them pulled by the self-selecting gravity of vivid moments, presenting art & language as possible paths to all but impossible redemption.




The Sharon Quarter
Seeds from on
As witty & passionate as the
Ones we have noted
Much of the
Explanation, that is the
Salt &
Modernism we
Respectfully & make do

SHARON MESMER is an ascerbic visionary. Urbane & prescient with a broad shouldered Chicago swagger. Sharon breaks the keel of linear thought & sinks into a sea of accelerated meditation. She’s got the confidence of an accomplished lockpick – hidden beneath the floorboards of her work are the stolen secrets from her relentless interrogations. How deep can swift waters run? Sink into Sharon’s work for awhile & find out.


One Hundred Famous Views of Lyons
Kept slipping
I slip into something
Beam of
Rain blew in the
Yeah yeah
Sight unseen

You walk into a room & decide you don’t like the sofa. In Kim Lyon’s world does the sofa care what you think? No, but not because it’s a sofa. Because it has too many other things to deal with than what you think. In Kim Lyon’s world of irreplaceable details & unavoidable incidents, the background rises up to take over the momentarily held locus of consciousness, answers always fall prey to the questions they were supposed to master, no fixed identities could hope to attain what life demands of them. The mutating geometries of static vignettes blur into motion & the boundaries between what you think & what you were told, between what you imagined & what actually happened become impossible to ascertain. Allow yourself to be projected into a field in which nothing is completed, in which vigilance & mindfulness are called for at all times, in which the transformation of every object & person occurs without the possibility of rest or conclusion. Welcome please to the Zinc Bar Kimberly Lyons.


Salerno's method
Are building
Rival stories
As when a
Every time I look
Not that it comes down
Only to be thought of

Mark Salerno’s briefcase of professional maguffins and half-expressed interrupted et ceteras also contains a map of faultlines between the surfaces that comprise everyday experience. If yr shape is determined by what you go through, then what matters more that Mark’s tectonic examinations? Everywhere in the rupture between thoughts are glimpses into the recess beyond the self & its inventory of desire. Whether spinning a body of sonnets or more fragmented forms, he recognizes that it’s only through surprise that one can clarify a point without obscuring the world. He dismisses easy linear tenderness in search of a more apt reflection of the broken rubble life has turned us into & of a constantly swerving & covertly sensual mode of thought through which to rebuild.



Hey Mac!
My favorite place
And cruel
Cent memory
Go blue in the
Elegant scrap of
Or the sound of
Call him sweetheart
At sea to be
Designed by Rizzoli

Macgregor Card writes intimate nothings to be shouted across a busy street, filtered through the venaculars of several centuries. Tender sonatas played on stilts. His work is populated with individuals for whom he has urgent messages, leggy messages reaching from the shadows of preconceived nobility into the nourishing sunny gaze of their ears. He is the custodian of a world of light, a world of proud and menacing architecture made, it turns out, out of light. Each poem is an environment or more accurately, is a syllogism based on a theorem supported by an axiom stolen from the crinkles of an aristocrat’s petticoat. The if/then series of obstacles that constitute the world, & how, in adapting, we become human. Inside a palace is a little pond & inside that pond is a frog that everyone in the palace has something secretly in common with. The keeper of that secret? Macgregor Card.



In The Fung Wah of My Heart My Jimmy Is on Fire
Jesus' wrath
My one way out
Beware of the
End of your
Long as
Easy targets

There is a crush list in heaven, god's crush list, that we are all on, but god stole the idea from JIM BEHRLE. To distract him from this act of divine plagerism, god has sent certain impediments jim's way over the years. Jim has in turn responded by writing an astounding number of simultaneously daunted & determined lyric poems, so quick & personal they sound to our baroque ears as though they were written light years further away than his Boston home. Emotionally serpentine & conceptually lush they generate entire mandalas of thought around seemingly basic ideas. Basic ideas like falling in love or at least into bed, and analyses of the symptoms if not the causes of a world totally quannasqattsiid out. Into the ready to wear culture already worn down he brings an ascerbic angry hopefulness & a set of instructions on making your way in the world as one afflicted Job among many. If you refuse to buy into a system of belief that says twenty-dollar vocab words & the grim replication of received wisdom are virtues, if you replace the faux intellectualismo, the drone of locusts with a massive propane fueled pogo stick to clear the linear & the craven, does that mean you are not a serious thinker? There is nobody who knows Jim who doesn't believe he's either on the wrong fung wah or someone who should be homeschooling their kids. A man of extremes, an provocative fox, a noble trickster with a sovereign blog, please welcome Jim Berhe to Zinc Bar.


A Revisioning to the Introduction for Jen Benka's Reading
at Zinc Bar
Elected or
Not elected
Black coal
Establish this
King boat fills with
A more perfect union

I was a little afraid up on Indian Lake last summer when JEN BENKA handed me A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America. I was afraid it was a collection of that kind of poem that tells you this is the way to think period. But she sidesteps the traps inherent in explicitly political, explicitly anything poetry, that is she isn't preaching to the converted or the resistant, she isn't trying to argue a specific point at the expense of what poems secretly desire, to move from specific points into the unknown, the infinite. With compressed, precise language she moves further & further outside the self with the generative premise that the constitution was a promise fulfilled for a select few but not for anyone else. Jen has created a body of writing at once profound, sarcastic, sexy, horrifying & revelatory -- just like America could be. There's a stateless nation whose shimmering borders are traced in Jen's work, a nation of which we are all clandestine citizens, a nation for which tonight the Zinc bar is the beseiged embassy in a hostile land.



Bernstein's Way
Cared about
Her eyes
And why
Rush in
She is
Expound the
Rain which
Nascent confidence
Sought is torn
Two of those
Eyes like
I am
Not I

CHARLES BERNSTEIN lives beyond the frontier of consent & context, beyond information, he lives in a network of tunnels beneath dominant ideologies. In these covert realms he develops analyses of the way expression shapes experience & the way anything antithetical to governing corporatist doctrines gets phr ased out of existence. But in challenging the notion that language must be in the thrall of preexisting meaning, in removing the constraints placed upon words, & making language no less strange than a newborn finds his own feet, Charles seeks out more than just new semantic footing. He creates a larger displacement -- Emma Goldman said "If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution." Well, Charles' revolutionary work, rife with non-sequiturs, intuitive puns & a billowing context generates & expands the same movement of mind, the same freedom from conventions & prejudices that Goldman agitated for in her pursuit of liberty. In alienating you from received notions of self & yr own location in society, he lays the groundwork for a broader restructuring of consciousness. Please welcome to the Zinc Bar Charles of the wild frontier



Allison's New Life
A flutter
I am your
Of threat
On the hairy
Bit of
Bebop Canto

In ALLISON COBB's work we begin to realize that we are what's inside pandora's box. Born as she was in the cradle of the end of civilization there is no need for her poetry to make strange an already dismembered world, but rather to arrive at a new rationality, a new whole from the parts our history has left us. With condensed & displaced language she explores the turf wars, the internecine behavior of competing notions of society, consciousness, compassion & love. Allison doesn’t merely inhabit environments, she perceives as though she were an environment, understanding time as the sky or forest do, she sees connections between ancestors & descendents as contemporary, embraces the impossibility of encapsulation, accepts the contradictory "angel within moloch" within each of us. Please welcome Allison Cobb to the Zinc Talk Reading Series.



Darkest Brandon
Bright on the
Rough the twisted orc
A dwarf
O we know that the
Night passed, the morning
Dried channel of
Of the sex
Wish and
No breathing structure
Its wish
Not done by

Cunning & swift the work of BRANDON DOWNING is the work of the covertly noble in the face of seductive tyranny. His poems & quasi visual texts are accelerated, distilled letters from the front of a war you didn't know was happening from the husband you didn't know you had in a language you didn't know you spoke. Every phrase & clipped line is a showdown at the OK Corralitive -- the echo of chasms in the mountaintops, an expressionist understanding of the depths implicit in the surface, the surface intrinsic to tension, the numinous inherent in the phenomenal world. He explodes dishonest ghost-hunter conceits like narrative & finds within the smoldering fragments a new story. But in this epic battle btw Isaak Dineson & a box cutter, btw symbol & emblem who will be victor? If you keep your wits about you, perhaps, my friends, the spoiled winner will be your good selves.



The American Evasion of Rod Smith
Regret but not for
O by the way one
Did not want to
Seep products clearly
Moss washed
Ie to the bygone or
To this real loud
Him who accepted it the right & the challenge

Prepare your ears for the extended meditations & sudden unauthorized memoirs of Rod Smith's investigative team of strong willed selves & animate debris. The iconic structures in Smith's underground reservoir are forced to perform actions beyond their definitional limits, words vanish into conversations so consuming nothing, not even concepts can escape & the self-evident is revealed to be rife with mystery. The intuitive intentionality that guides Smith's hand guides it beyond the clock, outside the map into sidereal fields past the reach of all clutches.


They Beat Me Over the Head With Anselm
A steady core
Nights ago
Sedate vice in tow
Eddie spilled
Light caught on the sleeve of
Much genre manipulation
Binary codes are the
Early stages of
Resembling pleasure
I can't believe anybody
Get my gear
And human head bones
Nothing ever happened except everything

Anselm Berrigan's work is transformative & disorienting the way it is when you go into the kitchen & forget the reason you went there which was of course because the kitchen is the only room of the house not completely under water yet. He's able to contain within the same phrase telepathic elegy & lo grade fever, the essence in the contingent, the cool glass of water below the poisoned decoy, the effect of going out for milk & returning years later with a beard. Anselm once said he was born into a world already written & in the terrific, impossible position of being, with Eddie, the son of two field-clearing writers, he faces the unique challenge of explicit lineage. I first met Anselm in an ancient glacial floodplain deep in Brooklyn when he'd just returned to New York, after years on the west coast. He was returning as a poet to the city where he'd been the son of poets contending with a lifetime compressed into a moment with the prospect of another moment coming up next as they do. A decade of moments later, Anselm's work runs from elegant desolation to the subtlety of the infinite & now it runs here to the zinc bar.



The Million Jordan Question
Just to draw the room
Rules. Who
Does she want
A person to
Name I can't
Drive I look through
A swan to the many other
Veins Felt happier
I washed & made
Smoke A canticle for making

If you can keep your wittiness about you while all others are losing theirs you may be Jordan Davis. His limber poems in the face of a brittle world reveal the elastic intelligence behind & true nature of going about cities before them. His keen alertness affords surprising glimpses of conditions so close at hand they're often invisible. We are the thing his poems provide direct treatment of. You say god bless you to someone when they sneeze so, during the moment of disruption when their guard is down the devil doesn't sneak in & the same might be called for during Jordan's sudden snaking epics. Jordan Davis' long working relationship with Kenneth Koch was the hidden canopy solo in the forest symphony of American letters, the bridge we need not ask for permission to take it to, the secret extra track on the record of contemporary poetry. I once sold a TV to Jordan who then sold it back because, he said, it was like a house guest that wouldn't leave. Jordan's talkative poems also arrive like house guests the difference being they are literally guests who are houses, constructing themselves in your mind until they occupy every spare corner & once you have invited them in, they will be with your forever. Please prepare your home for Jordan Davis.



Tornado in the Garden of Edwin
Eein the tradition of
Day ov any inda-
I give yu...
Now, dreamed then
Thick as mountain
Of home in the clouds
Request up up &
Each syl

Some people fall under the spell of their surroundings & others surround us with their spell. Some are content with their lot in life & others demand a lot from it. Edwin Torres, with work inventive & sensual, hypnotic & meditative falls, into the other camp, but it’s about the only camp he does fall into. An elegiac magician, his delicate, momentous poems stride through the mind with the assertiveness & jeopardy of a china bull in a hammer shop. Attempts to categorize his work as neo-futurist, nuyorican, performative, fall short of continuing the linguistic wysteria that overtakes any conceptual house it’s near. There is no shortage of writing abt borders, but Edwin writes as the fracture between worlds, as the tension between cultures, the overlap of antithetical ideas & the shared building blocks of liveliness that unite us all. Outgrowing & shedding one language for another, Edwin is constantly on strike against the right chord. More vortecist orchestra than human voice, as much poetry as annunciation, in the rapture of fracture, our Edwin Torres is on fire.




Breakthrough at the Putnam Institute
Circles of working
Eighteeen concentric circles of
Pajama feet
Under the dog face
Triangular pills
Next to the
Angles met at the
Met at the single point

We are honored to have, taking a moment away from his work at the Institute of Space Opera Research, CE Putnam. Imaginary Italian poet Alberto Lanciani once said of Chris Putnam's poetry, "If the world in which you live won't live up your dreams, dream up another world." But Chris recognizes that other worlds aren't just hypothetical, they're already manifest in our conversations & relationships. Just as he moves from one corner of the planet to another, his work exists in the same what time zone are we in state of revelatory cut up disorientation, a constant state of migratory disruption through which important transmisisons can be broadcast. His research collides texts & wrenches others apart to capture their inner workings, imposes on them rapid hydrolosis & dehydration synthesis to uncover their polymer structure, all in the name of allowing us to experience directly the wind's emergent properties before the wind itself becomes aware of them.



If There Is a Plan Perhaps Douglass Is Part of the Plan
Disappeared On my horizon Underground Get it off my
Little Attitude & put it Slowly Slowly Right On my life
The problem How incomplete Collect images Head
In the way of Land lots of Don't fence me me in

In a perfect world, the same standards would be applied to the richest & the poorest. But even in this very imperfect system, the questions we put to each are somewhat similar: you might ask a poor person where do you sleep at night? a rich person you ask how do you sleep at night? The answer's the same: I'm comfortable enough sleeping under a newspaper. Whether you are sleeping literally under the blanket of received wisdom or figuratively under its spell, the degree of social injustice upon which our institutions are founded is beyond the comprehension of even some our best writers. But there is one person whose well-founded sense of moral outrage, whose unyielding critical acumen sets him far from all others &, like it or not, closer to the real heart in all of us than we ourselves know. We are so steeped in illusion that most acts of true examination, cultural or aesthetic, seem to be somewhere between in poor taste & out to lunch. To live in America & not lose your humanity can make you look a little deranged. Douglas Rothschild is perhaps the sanest man in America, responding rationally & passionately to a social economic political system completely out of balance, unresponsive to fundamental needs in the service of an inhumane few. There have been brief moments when artists & writers have acted as the conscience of a people, expressing without compromise the true nature of their surroundings — consequences be damned. But I can think of few writers living today who haven’t been coopted by the very institutions they should be critiquing or distracted by the bunnies those institutions pop out of their hats. Douglass' writing is the writing of a person successfully resisting the narcotic haze of 21st century america, writing not the insipid lyrics or repetitive experiments that are expected of us, the ridiculous letters to our parents or president bush nor the clever exercises in post-irony pan flashing. He has a mastery of concepts beyond most artists & a command of language beyond most dissidents. Blinding & painful, it may be difficult to look at the sun, but we need its light to live. It may be difficult to listen to douglass but to deny his place among the great writers & thinkers of our time is to be deluded or willfully dishonest. If you have the guts, if you have nothing to hide, please welcome Douglass Rothschild, our own cultural first responder, back to Zinc.



Inflammatory Jane
Journal which I
Am breakfast. I am this
No, stay there
Editor here is my poem
Stay there I'll get it.
Promise. You like to
And look
Get it? I am breakfast
Untangling the day
Ever good at all the arts

This podium has rested under the hands of hundreds of writers & under the gaze of all the people who have come to hear them over the past decade. It acts as a barely noticed connection btw thousands of people. We may never know the exact number, but through the writing of Jane Sprague, we may come to understand the means by which seemingly small objects & culturally microscopic ventures entwine entire lives together. Lewis & Clark led their expedition into the west, Admiral Peary led his to the north pole & Jane leads another kind into the heavily trafficked but completely unmapped realm of social mores, of power structures, of the distant frontiers of intimacy, into the voluptuous network of involvements that confine & liberate all parties involved. Jane navigates her writing & other projects towards the apparently empty space that divides one self from another, announcing at the last moment that the expanse is actually filled with invisible tendrils & hidden equations & further announces her intention to guide us directly into the connective thicket. She explores our belongings -- that is, our possessions & what we are in turn are possessed by. How those affiliations allow us to shape the greater good & draw us out of the self into a larger beneficence. From up in Ithaca to down here in the thick of it, Jane illuminates not just the ecosystems of artistry but the broader cultural conditions in which our lives play out, & in so illuminating, reveals ways in which those conditions are anything but fixed. Please welcome Jane Sprague to Zinc Bar.



Micah of the Knights Templar
Man it is late
I have the Queen
Captured by another
All my
Hosts rave all evening long
Bring her to
A moment
Love &
Less from a red reflection
A flame

In the back yard of the human psyche there is a glittering piece of glass & through that glass you can see directly into the nature of consciousness. Micah Ballard's poetry is the angle you hold that glass at, the frequency of light that passes through it, even the sharp edges that place your fingers in jeopardy by holding the lens in the first place. He operates outside the measure of distance traveled, at the heliosphere of friendship beyond which lies only the hi fi oracle at delphi. With vaulted language & a stance half satiric & half burnt with cabalistic desire, filled with vulnerability & cloaked in bravado, he plunges through the liminal zone btw purgatory & potrero. He searches for mercurial truth in altered & empassioned states, reincarnating himself to meet forever the infinite quarrel to which he is bound. Given the choice between self-destruction with the arcane as a source of light & assimilating to a context one can be in but never truly of, well, in the next half hour we will witness the decision Micah Ballard makes here at Zinc Bar. & May god have mercy on us all


Unified Theories of Coleman
Joint swivel towards the
Natural applause
Coordination I am
Other people
Live -- it is my way of
My way of
A pacifist

Jen Coleman's poetics of annunciation invokes the most fully-realized reaches of the human spirit at the least auspicious moment of their conception. Her poems serve as havens in which immodest proposals for anti-utilitarian systems incubate & through which we can witness their first nascent steps in a voyage of quotidian miracles, of subtle responses to the tattered elegance of desultory humanist prayers. In cultivating the earliest stages, the conceptual seedlings, she perceives the difference between a dicot & a monocot, the difference between what will grow to become a tiny pea and what will become a princess. Her work lives at the moment of conceptual transformation, before the new world that will be based upon the incipient notion is borne out, & then maps the genome the instructions behind spiritus mundi, BEYOND religious conceits or SECULAR dogma. Jen's inceptions set in motion untold possibilities. Possibilities we will now experience head on at Zinc Bar.




The same lightning storm that destoyed so many other intros brought its wrath to bear on Tom's.



Himself a lightning storm of rock & roll poetic fury, Daniel must make do without an intro here, for the ever jealous Thor swung his hammer at that file too.

(This is a view from the lightning of Zinc/Lungfull World Headquarters)


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