Jordan Zorker

Post to UB Poetics

I first met Dan Davidson in 1987, at a bus stop following a poetry reading in San Francisco. Our destination was hardly a block away from each other in the same neighborhood and we soon became friends, of sorts, for a few years. He had just abandoned involvement in the local punk rock scene, said he knew Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys and bragged of his conquests in picking up young women at the clubs. I believed him, he was capable of being very charming and comedic. He had an incredible gift for talking-up strangers in public. A walk with him to a used bookshop, to scavenge for treasures, was a minor adventure, you never knew who he'd engage or where it would end. He also collected photographs that he found on the street. He often did much of his writing at the old, now defunct, SF Modern Art Museum. We attended some of the contemporary music performances together there, at what was known as the "Green Room." In those days, there were interesting readings nearly every week, it seemed like a "scene", and Dan was a part of it. The sound of his artificial heart valve ticking could be heard in the audience, it was often mistaken for a loud watch, and Dan used to joke about it. Eventually he hosted his own reading series at Forest Books. Dan held a literary salon in the living room of his funky share apartment. Some of the participants included Gary Sullivan, George Albon, David Gilbert, Laurie Price, Spencer Selby and Colleen Lookingbill. Dan played matchmaker in introducing me and encouraging me to date my wife-to-be. In the style of the Situationists, Dan often created his own flyers of altered advertising images, which he publicly posted or handed-out himself. The Reagan - Bush years kept him busy. I remember he was very excited about the release of the first BATMAN movie, which he read as a postmodern sign of social crisis. He never held a straight job, as far as I know, and he was proud of that. A sign outside his apartment gate read: Anarchist Arboretum. He claimed his upstairs neighbors were SM professionals and he could hear the screams at night. He decided to get a tattoo and chose a simple circle or oval on his forearm (I believe). Later, I became estranged from him, but ironically, after some years spent living on the other side of the city, I relocated to a building close to his. These last few years, I passed him on the street from time to time, exchanged polite greetings, had no knowledge of his life, but he seemed content.

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