Winter 02


Paris Singer




Paris Singer entered Isadora's whirlpool
Somewhere between Craig Gordon
And Sergei Esenin, in her apotheosis as abyss:
Son Patrick slid to death in sludge
Of the river Seine trapped in the Renault
With half-sister Dierdre, and no chateau
On the Loire, nor fleet of yachts to rival
The armada Cleopatra lost, could redeem
Her grief and hatred for this blond,
Bearded, hypochondriacal, nervously
Generous Jewish millionaire, from whose
Fingertips cultural protocols dripped
Like jewelry, who yearned to possess

This ikon of Scotch-Irish scorched-earth sex,
Oxymoron whose groin was insistently
Non-comic, a faceless Medusa, a signifying
Oubliette, who betrayed, berated, deeply
And comprehensively hated him.
When Singer arranged to purchase
Madison Square Garden, biggest stage
On the planet, this woman of Ozark,
Missouri origins screamed, "What do you
Think I am, a circus? Would you like me
To advertise prizefights by dancing?"
Fat, forty, mostly drunk and furious,
A perfect sty for Esenin's final wallow,

And in a decade the infamous scarf
On the wheel of the garage mechanic's
Bugatti, in Nice, France, suddenly, swiftly
Snapped her neck. She was whispering
In those days to foes and friends, "There are
Two things left, a drink and a boy,"
The woman who'd woven the scarf,
Mary Desti—what a name, but why
Read into things?—said "It was just as well,
Drinking so heavily, big as a balloon."
Fifty and dead, while Paris Singer, full
Of neurotic Jewishness, lamented 
Isadora's lack of common sense.


Kenneth Rosen's first collection, Whole Horse, was selected by Richard Howard for the Braziller Poetry Series in 1970. Kenneth was living with his family in the village of Steep, England outside of Petersfield, Hants, under the auspices of the late British novelist, Penelope Mortimer, of The Pumpkin Eater fame, made into a motion picture starring Kenneth's favorite actor, James Mason, though Kenneth especially relishes Mason as Humbert Humbert in Kubrick's Lolita. Kenneth's sixth collection of poetry, The Origins of Tragedy is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press of Fort Lee, New Jersey. Recent poems have appeared in Paris Review, Marlboro Review, and River City. Kenneth has lived since 1966 in Portland, Maine and environs, where he is off and on a professor at the University of Southern Maine. He is recently returned from three weeks as a Fulbright professor in Egypt, and is en route to Ankara, Turkey where he will be a guest lecturer at the Middle Eastern Technical University, culminating his visit with a paper on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness at METU's 10th Annual Joseph Conrad Seminar, and explain the incessant aporia at the heart of darkness as a site of freedom and of course horror.