animals

 

 

blue stretch limo black-windowed,

curve of antennae a fixed boomerang,

 

an extra fly around a pile of dung,

slow-footed cow will moo sincerely when

screamed at by the man,

 

balding willow a ghost of summer grace,

shadows lightly the white double-wide trailer,

rusting, the

 

flesh not surprised by rapid fire at the screen door,

black bird-stars spooked together, away,

 

boomerang receded, wiped clean to a polish,

 

passionate houseflies feast with inquisitive

probing tongues the stillness of a smile.

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

arms

 

 

arcs of light

like lightning in slow

slower than honeybee spirals

 

an arm raised in question

in greeting in a field

and children laughing down

the road as if they were

tickling each other

swelling like days of hope

 

thank you for your smile

your wave

your laugh a chameleon

in the window, peering over

the rims of your eyes

with a reptile grin.

 

 

 

Summer, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

auction

 

wooden beads perfect-smooth

etched face death-black-stone

heavy neck of man-gleam, on fire

rhythm-feet move African mountains

music-life unstolen

trembling-fever trees

gold the solid sun.

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

beneath you, for AZ

 

 

 

the threads can you feel the threads can you weave me a

death mask can you save me the threads of your life that

long can you pull them and stretch them and knot them and

tie up all the loose ends to weave me one intricate

fathomless black illusion

 

for me to fall again into I'm so sure of your

power I am so sure you can set me up in your pattern

criss-cross my fingers with the threads of you and knots the

 

system

systematic knots my God you tie me up so well and your

death mask for me it is exquisite how it

softly falls into my skin and sticking in there

where where where

can I free me from

being beneath you as I witness the helpless the

moonbloat of water wash through me but not

away the second face you've made for me

 

thank you I thank you for a death I could never repay for

it it it

seems endless the image of you over me dare I

question you dare you

can you save

the threads of your life as long as me?

can you make me forever and ever the

blackest dying swan?

 

you the spider spider metallic and God

cowering

cajoled into flailings in your web

a net never harvested of me

sticking to me somewhere

a sky that will not heal of you

but swallow always

swallow my eyes there

the trap to slowly lure me

lure me lure me blind into you

little hypnotic spider you little

weaver of lies your fantasy of extremes with

always always always

you on top of me

 

I've watched you I've watched the words

 

each held and fastened down with utmost ease

to the insides of my dreams there to wait there to

wait until a perfect wing touch perfect trap string

and run quick to tie me

the poison fang of your words in my ear

to still the form to faint, sleep, die without

dying

 

when I wake up ...

can you save the threads of your life as long as me?

 

 

 

©1987

 

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

birdnote

 

 

breath-halted girl walks for the noise to repeat itself

its foreign self it is the sound

 

it is the sound, sound of a bird she does not know

by name but dream, releasing her hold

on memory-time not so distant

from her dream-hearing

like a yesterday-mouth

close and cringing, near

 

called or sang or spoke in foreign note to her it did

in a blue-spangled monastery-circus long-faced stranger dream

from the tip, from on top of his bleeding-crowned fallen head

 

it cried: music-triumph! (and piercing

truth with orange

open-flame beak)

 

and saw her, with one bead-ball-god-moon-eye

and one eye sapphire blue

sweet smiling at her

 

she to remember wonder?

 

which eye reflected her with face upturned

and which eye saw her?

spoke her name at once in silence? one drop of

blood-sound, called her?

 

and in the dream she follows

cannot answer

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

chrysanthemum

 

 

each petal

a tiny gaping mouth

full of air, the center un-

furling into

beyond itself a creamy star

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

deer hunting

 

 

nail the heads up on the wall.

soft glass eyes which blend with the neck

slicked and stuck to a stained piece of wood

severed from some tree

 

i know you put them up there to look at

while you watch t.v.

 

 

 

10/31/87

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

dreams

 

dreams drop into now

like well-sliced pieces

of infinite pie.

 

fluid reality filling, slipping and

spilling, through.

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

field and pond

 

 

fresh egg embryo sun

a pale yellow morning chases

squirrels chasing each other

around the scratchy pines

tiny drops clear heavens bloom

showing dome spectrums

every wildflower small and pink

yellow and tall plume waving

golden tips wild grasses fill a field

blue bachelor's buttons cool stars

horseflies not yet risen above them

tick ticking birds ring the field from their trees

and the mourning dove infrequent and shy

the spider leaving, weaving silver fine threads

the path through to the pond

walking through webs in the woods

green stained glass leaves

 

the dock we all sat on

talked late at night

swam to cut the heat, floated

fish nibbling our legs and toes

 

concentric light rain circles

water bugs skating

crickets sustaining time

 

 

 

 

Summer, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

Flower Remedy

 

 

I am a violet flower,

growing

twisting, writhing

to the rhythmic joy

of the Sun

opening buds and

glossy green leaves

the Sun shines through

the dew on them

little rainbow sparkles

the rain pounds me

gently and fulfills the

thirst around my nervous

roots.

 

A child, laughing, picks me

for her mother to look at

while she washes dishes,

me, smiling at my use.

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

indelible

 

 

electric light glowing white

vibrate over this wall

your name written there

printed neat like a magazine

yours in dark forest green

like the mountains

my eyes, your expedition

you climbed

left your mark like any other

animal

storms haven't

washed you

off me yet

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

Inheritance

 

 

crescent moon claw

brooch in thinning black velvet sky

grandmother's pearl sits glowing

soft inside a drawer

back home

 

streetbulb eclipses all but a highway

winding wingless asphalt flat

cold and blunt-edged hand

without thinking fingers

without the clutch

of time-ache

 

at night on a road where lights are few

the radio off

windows down

silence in motion

the breath of speed

 

space, give it

back, cautious as a sage

 

paintbrush an essence free and loose of us

and back and forth the pulling

acceleration into the curve

watch you

do you don't take

curves of chance and change too

helter-skelter

break you into bits and

billions where you are not, came

 

grandmother's moon

grandfather's highway

streetlight string the fates

 

 

Fall, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

Lone Pear

 

 

shining green in the white paper towel,

the light of August sweats brilliant beads,

book's images overwhelm, now

suspended, flat, on the bedside table,

it's Georgia's hot wind blowing under the trees and through

a window faintly, stirring the curtains like a skirt,

a truck muffler passes

 

in the smooth pale yellow bedcovers, I

white-peach-colored eat the cool pear ...

 

first toothy sink into and through the speckled skin to

juice,

smooth to upper hot lip,

pull, thwack, soft, away with a Saturday evening hand,

glimpse my

own flesh glistening there, and chunk and

chunk of the grainy pleasure-pear

slick it slides to throat,

cluck the middle-rolling bites,

swallow the sweet,

nibble and gnaw to seed-thread,

wrap the tattered-ended remains

respectful in the white again

 

lay back, open to

relish

Faulkner

again

 

 

 

 

Fall, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

mollusk

 

 

I am a fragment.

I only look as if I'm whole.

The sand buries my edges.

You only know I'm just a piece if you bend

down to look to reach some sunburnt

fingers and pull me out.

If you happen to be fond of pieces

you could carry me along awhile as you

kick the sea away from your feet ...

you might fling me away, back into the blue,

disgusted with yourself for thinking a

fragment was a whole, and

hope no one was looking.

Either way I am the same imperfect.

Only I remember the hermit crab.

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

mushroom things

 

 

there are these little

mushroom things that used to grow

in the front yard

my sister taught me how to

mush them, dusty brown silver

mini-explosions

 

I haven't seen one growing in years.

 

they are popping inside me though

when you ask me

what's wrong

a series of random explosions as you

get to the bottom of it

stumbling as I do myself

in you

popping, spreading unripe seeds,

wasted until they find

a day place to grow.

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

night arms

 

 

a warm kind of night arm over us arms

everywhere

over ever forever

all over all

through arms enfolding a warm

lovingness

because the heart says do this

dayfuls of inner sunstars

peacework lightsource level

through us the honey-nectar-blood-heat

we are silent spoons

into warmest nights, arms

 

 

 

 

Summer, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

Polarity

 

I.

the books open themselves for you

a glass of wine at your bedside

as is your nighttime habit

the cat kneading your stomach muscles

it needs you

you push it away eventually

in your way

the poem is by Edna St. Vincent

Millay

 

what face do you give your past?

what label are you pinning to my brow?

a number on my pillow

an empty glass?

 

 

II.

 

edge, cliff of silence

and I with my minutes, my hours, my months

the earth, poised

 

what is this woman?

what is this scream, this terrible smile?

this swallowing

accepting softness, breasts

invisible rhythm that bonds?

 

what is this man

of dark unclouded brow

money and possession

love and cigarettes

externalized

how can he help but be

soft on the inside, a

lead balloon full of wine

aging well?

 

 

III.

 

over the cliff my eyes fall

but not me

 

there is a balance of powers here

innate, river and earth or some other

two things

in time worn down, the boundaries clear

jagged, eroding

with the wind

the breath of change.

 

 

 

 

©1987

Aurora, Agnes Scott College

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

seashell

 

 

the back of my head is wet hair is

waving full of the sea empty, empty

 

tide as i sleep my days

facing the sea on my side

 

washes over my face the wave blue

green blue-green

 

a shell lodged in sand

I sleep with the sea, smooth

 

blue-green wave

washes me back to me

 

 

 

Summer, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

Soup

 

it takes all day for my Mother to make soup--

parboils a chicken, skims the fat off the top, chills the

stock, pulls the skin off the bones-- throws the bones

away, wishbone and all-- gives the skin to the cat--

makes a little chicken salad for lunch--

takes the cold fat off the stock with a

wooden spoon, pours it over the chicken in a

big stainless steel pot--

with black stains on the bottom

where she burned the chili one winter--

adds water to the broth, a little salt, a little pepper--

cuts up what she feels like putting in--

in the summer it's fresh okra, tomatoes, green beans, celery--

in the winter it's canned English peas, canned tomatoes, carrots

from the grocery store, celery--

and lets it all cook slowly all afternoon--

puts the rice or the noodles in last--

puts in on high for about

15 minutes, stirring it every now and then, turns it

down to medium--

which is 6 or 7 on the new stove--

tastes the soup, seasons it if it needs it,

but usually it's perfect--

although Daddy puts a lot of salt on his (he

doesn't really like soup)

I put a little if I think it needs it--

Mother doesn't put any salt on hers--

she loves a good bowl of soup

with saltines.

 

 

 

©1987 Writer's Festival

Agnes Scott College

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

strings and things

 

 

anything like dreams ...

Maybe it was because it had been so long. So long now it had been

it repeating itself, she had been repeating it to herself in sequence and

pattern like strings like webbing, like silkworms in her factory mind, weaving

with her fingers so long, here, that she hadn't quite noticed

she was capable of weaving anything at all. So

easy somewhere to whisk

whish away the clutter

banning it to a corner while she wove with flying fingers flying strings

turning and dancing a weaver's ancient rhythm until she was living cloth

life to lace, now with her back to the corner, now rummaging for one lost

thing, now talking to herself

talking to the spiders about technique,

with her back to it, making lace and memories

curses, charms, out of nothing out of

string out of herself

Maybe it was because it begged her to lace her long witch fingers in the

threads, dye them, pull them into pastel exotic

bizarre opalescent

black and mescaline brights

weave them into friendship bracelets

lover's necklace, family ties.

Maybe it was because it had been so

long, the thread of something always falling into her hands, snaking,

spiralling out of the ceiling, the walls, the floor from the earth beneath

and beyonds, a plural of infinities,

connection.

Maybe it was because it had been so long

since it had been anything like dreams ...

 

 

Summer, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

Sylvia Plath

 

 

there's a purple line at the edge of the gray

placid sky. like then. you used to say that it was the

color of a woman you'd never seen, but would like to

know. would like to be. would like to have been.

you are that color memory to me now when i see

 

it's really not purple. not burgundy. wine. it is

you, even though your color was charcoal. ash.

 

sometimes i would think you threw that color up there

on purpose, to defy my words, my

metaphors. you do a lot of things like that.

did. still do. will forever.

ash. no, not wine.

 

the color is past, insipid as the gray, like a life.

yours, ended,

arms folded under your soft head, your hard

head in the gas oven.

you knelt there, took a dry laugh,

slept with the fumes on

but not lit, your soul floating,

regretting the ceiling.

 

the streetlights flick on schedule, inept, but

they find you dead and blue, of all things, a

dead blue poet,

disguising the rift between your life, mine.

 

night, it is coming, with charcoal

toes, illegible,

eating the horizon.

 

 

 

March, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

the mate

 

 

maybe like crickets you dance

well not exactly like crickets

but in summertime's hot nights

one was always calling out for a mate

in the hall, between the walls

rubs its legs together

howls like a dog after a siren

except the pain wasn't in its senses

or the sound

but a methodical loneliness

it drove me crazy and I turned the

light on in the black hallway

rub my eyes

stomp the old yellow carpet

with angry sleepy feet

and gone

gone gone he was

maybe like crickets

and there goes my peripheral

vision of you

 

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

touches bed the morning (a fantasy)

 

across chest, the hair, long

glowing lightly golden-brown

flowing to its tips

just short of a rib

breathing young woman

near, so near, asleep.

between his fingertips

twirling strands of hair.

 

the arm, gentle,

the hand over rib

holding breath and beat

beneath, bonded.

breathing woman asleep,

beside, calm.

between his fingers

short, light-brown hair

of her head, fingertips

tracing scalp, slowly

so not to wake her

from her dreams

so real.

 

 

Fall, ©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

 

WinePress

 

 

The wine hurts deep.

I feel your slumbered memory, there.

I touch the warmth, the taste of blood in my mouth,

the rippling pain of your faces,

the unforgiving eyes.

I do not recoil. I laugh; bubbles slowly

gurgle to my breath without joy.

 

The wine cures deep.

I forgive myself and you. There is

joy seeping through.

 

 

 

©1987

Amy Jackson

 

 

poetry

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