The Painting in Modern Life

Elaine Kahn


I watch the men show
muscles through the trees.

Their hairless chests
reflecting sunlight, slow as glass

They walk transparent and return
each time to the same point.


On the other hand,
I rush to be unwise.

A blot of ink blacks
out my stomach, still

Button of a clock,
a set of teeth perched

On a camera stand.
A plastic chalice.


I don’t give a fuck
about the sun.

I only have eyes for
blow up dolls.

I put pomade on my sternum,
winding up the saddle

As a hairless Siamese
lays scratching in its corner.


While we’re stacked and straddling
the branch, I whisper

Right now my vagina is closer
to your ass than it is to mine.

And it is true. Isn’t that the way
love’s supposed to be?

A blurry shadow of a group of people,
moving all together.


I’m a girl and I’m a woman.
And a boy and a baby

And a motorcycle.
And a fuzzy, greenish picture of Jesus.

I contain my piss into the helmet,
begging you to watch me

Tracing skulls above your head,
Emojis whistle like a flame:

He’s a rebel I was blind.
He’s a rebel now he’s mine.


I understand that my agenda
made this awkward.

I meant it only as an act
of aesthetic interference.

Don’t you get it?
My single insurrection in this life
is my fertility.

Yesterday, I polished seven pairs of boots.
It was really something.



Elaine Kahn is the author of A Voluptuous Dream During an Eclipse (Poor Claudia, 2012), Customer (Ecstatic Peace Library, 2010), and Radiant Bottle Caps (Glasseye, 2008).  She performs music under the name Horsebladder with releases previous and forthcoming from Night People, Ecstatic Peace, Yod Tapes, and Hot Releases.  Elaine is the managing editor of Flowers & Cream press and lives in Oakland, California.  For more info:

Fanzine’s series editor for Fall 2013 is Ella Longpre.