Mina Loy
from The Lost Lunar Baedecker



Mass-Production on 14th Street v


Ocean in flower
of closing hour

Pedestrian ocean
of whose undertow,
the rosy scissors of hosiery
snip space
to a triangular racing lace

in an iris circus of Industry.

As a commodious bee
the eye
gathers the infinite facets
of the unique unlikeness
of faces;
the diamond flesh of adolescence
sloping toward perception:

flower over flower,
corollas of complexion
craning from hanging-gardens
of the garment-worker.

All this Eros' produce
dressed in audacious
orgies of orchid
or dented dandelion
among a foliage of mass-production:
tossed at a carnal caravan
for Carnevale. v

The consumer,
the statue of a daisy in her hair
jostles her auxiliary creator
the sempstress—on her hip
a tulip—
of her hand-labor.

From the conservatories of commerce'
long glass aisles,
idols of style
project a chic paralysis
through mirrored opals
the cyclamen and azure
of their mobile simulacra's v
tidal passing;

while an ironic
furrier, in the air,
combines the live and static
of the thoroughfare;

a windowed carousel
of girls revolving
idly in an unconcern
of walking dolls
letting their little wrists from under
the short furs of summer,
jolt to their robot turn.

Now, in the sedative descent of dusk
the street returns to stone;
two lovers, crushed
together in their sweet conjecture
as to Fashion's humour,
point at the ecru and ivory
replica of the dress she has on,
doused in a reservoir of ruby neon;

only — — her buttons are clothespins
the mannequin's, harlequins.



from "The Lost Lunar Baedeker, Poems" selected and edited by Roger Conover, 1996, New York, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
© 2019 Estate of Mina Loy, courtesy of Roger L. Conover.


  MASS-PRODUCTION ON 14th STREET, notes by Roger Conover. ^

This text is based  on the signed, dated (July 27, 1942), hand-corrected MS at Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, Mina Loy Archive.

First published  in Lunar Baedeker & Time-Tables (Highlands NC; Jonathan Williams, 1958); no periodical publication.
Line 28: Carnevale ] Carneval  (I assume that Loy was aiming for the Italian spelling, but "Carnaval"  [French] is also possible here.) ^
Line 43: simulacra's ] simulacres' ^