James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in indefinite space, SHARK REEF, and Pacifica. He edits The Mantle Poetry (themantlepoetry.com). Currently, he works in film production in Pittsburgh, PA. (jimjakk.com)


on television are beefy men
staring each other down
the camera zooms on one he
blows his snot onto the green
grass a quiet meteor my friends
and I saw that half-drunk at
the tavern then proceed to 
agree we are too anxious
to blow our nose with one
thousand people watching
I guess it’s just testosterone,
man, the comparisons of
muscles and tendons without
the tenderness of inward
reflection, a pool rippling
out from the inside then
pouring all over the field

Old Dad

Growing up with an Old Dad
meant he was always dying, inches
closer than the rest. Mine survived
the Great Depression to grant me
a shorter bridge to bloodshed
in our lineage, my father’s great-
great uncle Stonewall (the Confederate
general) and Andrew (the genocidal
President). I don’t want to be
that close in time to them. My years
must stretch as far as they can,
long enough to outlive that legacy.

Warp Whistle

I thought by now the whistles would warp us
to a future in peace  jump me ahead of this dark
underground level   Mario   I have crushed
enough Koopas to keep my genocidal ancestry
whooping from their battleground graves   didn’t
feel much sanctity from Arlington Cemetery
sorry   when they buried my brother at Ohio
Western Reserve  gravestones orderly as pill
bottles on the shelves of corporate pharamacy 
what rings in my brain are the gunshots
of old white veterans fired during Clinton’s
final ceremony  bullets whizzing up the sky
just to land on the dirt covering
graves of my genocidal ancestry

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