James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson (he/him) is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has two chapbooks (Our Past Leaves, Kelsay Books, 2021 and The Frayed Edge of Memory, Writing Knights, 2017) with one forthcoming: Count Seeds With Me (Ethel2022). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com)

Foreheads

Clink your skull against my skull.
Tulip glasses in the fog at a winery. 
The pale white of a wedding dress–
you wouldn’t call me Western, 
would you? I’m warm at the brain 
center. Leave your soft red mark
on my red mark so we can walk 
slowly in the grass toward the fence 
that keeps a single deciduous tree 
beside the blue barn where chickens 
are kept against their wild wills.

The Bomb

It was so quiet
you could hear cows 
walking on mud

pigs chewing wheat. 
For a moment I wanted
as a souvenir

the certain stillness 
of winter trees
of nearly everything–

but the cloud began
its parting, its rising–
smoke out the barrel

of a gun, aiming at you 
like an open door, 
begging you to hide.

It’s 9:45 I’m Happy to be Alive

I’m in bed an engine revs a motorcycle outside
someone on this street screams slow down
but I finish our pack of blueberries, I apologize
what for? We were both eating them. The small
sour ones. The large C-flat ones. Near the end 
I say these kinda taste weird. You say they’re
very sweet. I apologize what for? Where I’m at
I can complain about such sweetness.

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