April 12, 2019

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

A Note on Jealousy

When I ran into Heather at Union and said hello 
Jennifer asked who’s Heather with smoke alarm eyes
I said a friend I meant it jealousy is the kind of
thing that puts teeth in a line of vision I was jealous
of your Emi too sometimes one must chomp the
string one time I believed I could love without
caring about the past but stones settled along
the path can still be pushed by gusts under a sky
wherein there is no ceiling or ending except
for the vastness of our longing in space


Rip the last life-supporting limb off the tree; 
no money grows here now, no more sustaining green
glints the grass, just faces of dead men we don't
know preside over lives with a capital C,
an initialism for one fewer line stampedes to the future
of individual prosperity. Sprint to the edge of the field;
walk the gravel road until you find another–
sharp rocks now splinter through your soles.


At the beach
a man in each tide,
men like grains of sand,
a thousand men between
your toes.
Bring them
to our spot
the umbrella.
We shall always be
the shade
when the sea
begins its fury.

An Improv Game

an improv game in the living
room I am screaming
someone say I am an alarm
clock or an ambulance
because my brain is hyper-
ventilating in this anxiety
of why-can’t-we-play-beer-
pong on the lawn table this is
Los Angeles and I am scared
of everything (tsunamis
falling fronds off palm trees
car accidents and commitment)
I am trying to make something
anything up in front of you
that’s how we stayed together
for eleven months of I-love-
you yelling sand in our teeth
sunburnt toes on the shore


James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knight Press, 2017), and poems in Rattle, *82 Review, and Reservoir. He edits The Mantle. Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. His website is jimjakk.com.

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