Wednesday, March 22, 2023

new from above/ground press: NOISE, by Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis


Selfsame trawling the wholecloth expense
barging for the too-long roiling quick
documentary’s earned orchestral maundy
song or something somehow this furnished
azure attitude destroyed untotally
by miracle of overhearing chamomile
to soothe the interest and witch
a tan upon my friends so gifted
at having friends, o lug me
into your cherry-dawdled spanking
as a wish wants to be a person but is a wish.
It wants to be female DNA
having lived long enough
as geometric proofs of the identity
of my fear of thought
which produces litter (aye!
Undo your hearing aid) out
of love again, a speedy amaryllis.


Reading Noise, I kept wanting to ask something facile like “Is this what it would be like if Frank O’Hara raised kids?,” but that might only be because I know its author has: they don’t have unmistakable walk-on roles in many of these poems, though I might not be looking hard enough. What I mean is, roughly: what becomes of the (mostly) urban flaneur when the project of self-creation comes under pressure from what an earlier bohemia might have viewed as the mundane imposition of commitments to care? Even that makes it sounds like I think O’Hara didn’t care about his family of choice, which is another reason the thought is facile. I don’t know that Jordan Davis thinks of his poems in these terms at all: asking, after all, isn’t the done thing. But I have my suspicions: one commends procreation to the beloved. But even that poem, persuasive and apparently plainspoken, is called “Periphrase,” and it’s no accident that “steganography,” which I had to look up, appears elsewhere. Whether a given poem foregrounds a readily legible mise en scene (“The Coke Machine at the Time Share”) or the play of image, aphorism, and knockabout sonics (“The mime and the gnome trade memes”), something here – or someone, and not necessarily the poet – needs and deserves protection. Either way, this noise is mostly signal.    --Franklin Bruno
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
March 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Jordan Davis’s
second collection, Shell Game, was published by Edge Books in 2018; his third book, Yeah, No, will be published by MadHat in 2023. Recent work appears in The Brooklyn Rail, The Canary, and American Poetry Review. He lives in Brooklyn and works in the financial services industry.

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