Four Poems by Jean Day

by: Jean Day ((Header art by Martin Creed.))

Jean Day‘s poems are terse, polished fragments of mordant humor and critical observation. Taking on both the larger culture and the poet’s own self-awareness, their finely wrought surfaces and nuanced depths dazzle and disturb, forcing the reader to slow down and engage the narrative pull of our highly disjunctive consciousness. 



I’ve seen a lot of movies in which
a tough turkey
gets grilled
++++++on the spot

in the workbook
where pilgrims set up shop.

Those were happy fantasies.

Like drilling the eyes
++++++out of Rushmore



++++++++++++Just one question

before I leave
my leaning toward the sun
all Leon
++++++Leonwood Bean cotton canvas canopy
++++++++++++covering an absurdly formal


Doesn’t the skirt (of the tree)
have a place under which we decide

how to characterize the project

as grisly, genetic,
++++++++++++or real?

Wiping out the magic of the mood?



The boredom of the horizon
lurches up on a swell

no Saltine can keep down.

Those were the days.

Eyes peeled for the whistle
at the end
+++++++++++of Pollock Rip.


made us itch




++++++When the subject slips
Man wants a nap.

++++++A little this way, that camber

++++++Farther and farther off
But still so close
++++++To shore I think you’re going to yell
Bloody murder

++++++But it sufficeth not.

Then Scotch Tape is proposed (for the job)
Known as it is to be wily.


Jean Day has published six books of poetry and several chapbooks, among them Early Bird (O’Clock, 2014) and Enthusiasm (Adventures in Poetry, 2006). Insurance Editions will be publishing The Triumph of Life (from which the poems published here are taken) in the very near future, and Daydream is forthcoming from Litmus Press next year. Her work has also appeared in many anthologies, including Nineteen Lines: A Drawing Center Writing Anthology, Best American Poems 2004, Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women, and In the American Tree. She lives in Berkeley, where she works as managing editor of Representations, an interdisciplinary humanities journal published by the University of California Press.

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