Jon Davis and Greg Glazner

Saturday May 14 at 4:00 PM

The Side Door

2900 Franklin Boulevard

Sacramento, CA

Jon Davis is the author of six chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, including, most recently, Above the Bejeweled City (Grid Books, 2021) and Choose Your Own America (forthcoming in August 2022 from Finishing Line). He also co-translated Naseer Hassan’s Dayplaces (Tebot Bach, 2017). He has received a Lannan Literary Award, the Lavan Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. His poems have appeared in a number of anthologies including Four Quartets: Poetry in the Pandemic; Photographers, Writers, and the American Scene; Poet’s Choice; Sixty Years of American Poetry; The Best of the Prose Poem; No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 24 American Poets; and Telling Stories: A Writer's Anthology and have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, KiSwahili, and Vietnamese. He taught creative writing and literature for thirty years, twenty-eight of them at the Institute of American Indian Arts. In 2013, he founded the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing at IAIA, which he directed until his retirement in 2018. He served as the City of Santa Fe’s fourth poet laureate. For more information, go to

A Structure for OUR Grief

Build it of plastic that lasts a million years but quickly comes unhinged and unglued and gets left at the curb to be lifted onto a truck by mechanical arms and taken to the landfill, where it gradually decays into flakes and chunks, some of which are eaten by gulls and terns, who fly off to the ocean and shit while they paddle the waves until a whale comes seining and swallows that plastic along with all the other plastic—the bottles and cheap sunglasses, the ghostly bags—and its digestive system clogs and fails and the whale, starving, begins thrashing and groaning, and the other whales gather and try to comfort it while it founders and dies and floats to the ocean’s surface where birds and fish feed on its carcass and the waves eventually push it gently onto a beach where the sunbathers and swimmers find it, gathering around to look at the hole where the eye was, the half skeleton half flesh of the fluke, until they can’t stand the stench and head back to their blankets and coolers and sunscreen, while the other whales drift in the distance, rising to blow and diving back to the depths to mourn, sounding their squeaks and clicks, deep hums and squeals that can be heard, scientists say, by other whales four thousand miles away.

—Jon Davis

Greg Glazner was born a Texan but has made stops in Missoula and Santa Fe before easing gracefully into Davis. His books of poetry are From the Iron Chair and Singularity, both published by W.W. Norton, and more recently Cellar Testament which was published by William Paterson University Press.
His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry, The Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Fifth Wednesday, Zone 3, and Beloit Poetry Journal. He has been awarded the Bess Hokin Award from Poetry, an N.E.A. Fellowship and The Walt Whitman Award (selected by Charles Wright). He also plays electric blues guitar and sings with Professor Len and The Big Night as well as other bands in the area, and he has collaborated with composer Garret Shatzer in an ensemble at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. Currently, he teaches creative writing and literature courses for the UC Davis English Department.

Sick to death of the hardpan shoulder

The froth of noise

the undersides of the cedars make,

the windblown dark that hints

and fails for hours at effacement—

maybe I could claim it isn’t

praying, but it’s asking,

at the least, begging

that these lungfuls of this blackness

eat whatever keeps on swelling

and collapsing in my chest, and be done

with it, no more noise

left hanging in the spaces

between brake lights than a smothered rush

that sounds like suffering

and is nothing. Instead a sobbing isn’t

so much easing from my throat

as shining like black light from my torso,

veining the leaves of weeds, stoning

the whole roadside in a halo—I can feel

the heat of truck lights on my back,

I’m inside that brilliant gravity,

I think of time, I’m in the driver’s

nightmare and it shudders by—