Stepdad Thanksgiving

Stepdad Thanksgiving by James Croal Jackson

 

(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Summer 2017)

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Addiction

I crave the steady and the swing.
I crave the crystalline trampolines
that hurtle me seven hundred feet
into glimmering onto an Eiffel Tower
stage before the work of Einstein
activates and demands ricochet.

 

(originally published in 1001 Journal, Spring 2017)

Polyamory

we walk parched lips from downtown
to the jazz & rib fest you tell me
you love too many at once

I count the number I love at the moment
but we lose track of headlights
following the other’s every move

neither of us know how to get there
how to make music & when we arrive
jazz is faint & we don’t listen to sporadic notes

choosing to walk the bridge over the river
under spotlights of webs of moths
between railings & you say insects

are the most important creatures alive
the more of something there is the better
all these millions of arachnids spinning

webs to eat the hearts of bugs they always catch
we stand away from the railing because we
don’t want spiders to creep onto us & start

the work of eating through skin to dig to heart
we don’t look at each other because
you can be in love with so many at once

but not the ones who want it most

 

(originally published in Edison Literary Review, Summer 2017)

Lethargy

A butterknife has potential.
Voila! Cream cheese

on an everything
bagel.

The microwave beeps.
The ceiling fan spins.

Onions brown
at the bottom of the fridge.

Throw out the bag.
Then throw out that bag.

Swiffer shoeprints
off the floor.

Take your shoes off
next time.

Catch the mouse before
it multiplies

though you know
that means to snap

its neck.
So don’t.

Summon all the light
you can.

 

(originally published in DMQ Review, Summer 2017; featured later as a Verse Daily “Web Weekly Feature” the week of July 24, 2017)

On the Precipice of Long-Distance

The universe ends
or is supposed to. It lives
in your bed– mornings tangled

with laughter. In a week you will move
to Florida. A week ago we swayed
on swings away and toward each other.

A fling from disorder, we are no longer bound
to orbit. Still, I swat the air
in your fourth-floor apartment

overlooking the river to follow its movement
to determine when a body is real
and to what mouth it goes. For you,

it’s an airport. Until then, we hike
through forests building tree forts
to wooden-house our hearts.

At night, I search the stars for words
but can’t make sentences you tell me are there.
All I find is the slow motion of time,

then distance– since time’s beginning,
the universe took many small steps toward us
so let’s walk that way together.

If you lose me from great distance,
I will build a bridge so short
you’ll be right here from that far away.

 

(originally published in The Write Place at the Write Time, Summer 2017)

Tiger Balm

Nice to pretend
there’s a thing all-healing.
It’s early spring and we both
ache– my mouth, your stomach.
Searching for remedy we lay
leglocked in bed to distract
ourselves with affection
but smell of Tiger Balm.
You like its touch, I like
the texture– the initial
dipping into hope that
maybe we’ll find relief
in the burn it leaves
in the air, or in my hand
on your stomach,
then in your hand.

 

(Originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2017)

Transient

I need new faces
clothes drawers
opening
closing

I used to find
spacious greens
county lines
my hometown

I wandered
through the smells
of mom’s scrambled eggs

faucet running
disposal clogged
with garlic

understand
I want to be
a bullet train
memory

I’ll tell my future grandkids
stop moving
opposite
of me

 

(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Summer 2017)

*Pushcart Prize Nomination