Searching your trench coat,
I looked for truths, found instead
a 1969 penny and a Green Room matchbook—
I resisted the flame.
Pockets, lined with mothed holes
and a stained handkerchief,
not my mother’s shade of red.
What can we ever know, Dad?
Read more "London Fog"
This urge to rummage our dead.
Out of flower now,
yet I smell it and so
must the dogs who
know where the cardinal
was at noon and the red squirrel.
Who knows which
trace is truest –
this one as if someone took
Read more "The Mock Orange at Night in Mid-July"
a torch to pearled sugar,
crust on custard,
almost too sweet.
We, or at least I, rely
certain in seeing.
The moon is a firefly
in the pine, a silver flash
above the greenish
flare of beetles.
Luciano Fabro assembles green flies
Read more "Arte Povera"
and beetles iridescent as death
on armatures of brass.
He calls them sculptures
though they often resemble
shields and helmets
and other objects
useful to primitive pacific tribes
or knights escaped
from medieval armories
and museums of unnatural history.
His scarabs glow with rarified light
and abide in memory:
hidden wings and hardened heads,
smooth coats of black shellac
and pins sequestered from
my inadvertent touch.
At night, they recall themselves to me
unbidden, without conscious desire.
How foreign-delicacy we must look
So glittering-feast for silver handcuffs like fish hooks
On the fishing lines of Met police
Our fleshy white meat
Scattered like bait in the woods
We all clenched-jaw, shark-teeth keys now
Double rows of razor-sharp between knuckles
Dragged up on the dock and weighed
Price gouged for market
Fish-eye frozen on a casket of ice
What do we taste like?
Read more "Shark In Shallow Waters"
I drank from the fur cup. It tasted like you – orange blossom honey infused with fire. If our forebears had remained in the Pale of Settlement, herding cows, exhorting God, they would have been destroyed with the rest, and we would never have happened. History is riddled with obscure coincidences. The poète maudit Stéphane Mallarme died from the same disease I have. There is no cure, no absolution, no escape. I am not only a prisoner, but also the prison. Please spare me visits from the sort of people who refer to poetry as “verse.” I just want to stand chest-deep in your flames.
Read more "Touched by Fire"
In mourning spaces,
answers dangle questions.
Yet daffodils laugh in fertile fields.
Ours is a slow unfurling.
Answers dangle questions
despite a lustrous sky,
and slowly, our unfurling,
the dim voices sway.
A lustrous sky
will not mention death, for now.
Voices sway against the dim—
wonder, where are you hiding?
Death, no mention, now—
Read more "Daffodils Laugh Out Loud"
fertile fields laugh with daffodils.
There is no hiding
among the mourning spaces.
I’ve waited seven days for this dogwood
to unfurl its white cups, to drink the light
it gathers. Other flowers have passed
their season, our path matted
with pink rhodie remnants,
but the dogwood shows off
in open space between cedar
Sun fills each cup as I witness
Read more "The Dogwood in Early June"
from shaded days steeped in protests
heated to burning, to melting,
to truth yelling and tears.
The anniversary of his death is the cruelest fishhook. Yanking us back, violently. When the days turn crisp, as they have now, when summer fades and autumn crawls into our tiny farming town—that’s when we most grieve our fallen classmate. One year we tried to ignore the date, but the hook came anyway and somehow was even more brutal. So now we meet it head on: we make a day of it. The downtown is strewn with somber-black ribbon. Coffee is shared and then, later, whiskey. We pass the yearbook, we muse, we moan. If a stranger such as you wanders by, the story is told in fullest detail.
Read more "Our Danny Petoskey"
August Garden Overgrown, ravaged with insects, humming incessant sun, the lot of it buckles, sucks, sags and slumps toward autumn — all bursting, come to fruition, seeking divisions between sex and sex and death — breathing last breaths, heaving its seed toward next season. Stephen Jackson [he/him] lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. His […]
Read more "August Garden"
Wrapped Tight Ball of string wrapped tight and tidy yearns to fling itself in a direction to unravel massiveness into feathery strand beckoning in wind for more length to discover more paths no worries of finding way back or to dangle like trapeze swinging back and forth inviting acrobats to fly unlike ball of string […]
Read more "Wrapped Tight"