Amy Jackson

Poems 2002

Table of Contents




my lover is waiting for me
with two bright-eyed chewing camels
at the base of the great Pyramid

i have climbed to the top
to be closer to the stars tonight
closer to the endless unknown
the unknowable universe
the unseeing night
the Pyramid holds my weight aloft
swirling winds resonate with ancient whisperings
the age of the unknown humbles me to dust

at some uncertain point
i become overwhelmed with age
i feel the stamping camels
and my lover’s patient heart
spreading to understand the time
i draw one last breath of mystery
atop a fountain of unanswerable questions

mortality seeks my path down the glowing stones
as i carefully make my way back down in the darkness
the Sphynx shudders with yet another one, seeking

my lover follows my every step down
giving me latitude to explore
and with each safe placement of feet
breathes some piece of relief

the ground is more gravity to know
yet another mystery that holds my life
the stars spin, laughing brightly

he embraces me, enveloping me with honey
with fire, with an ocean of memories
lifts me up to the camel that now knows me
grudgingly bearing me as it has others
tourists, it mumbles in Camelese

i know with each rock of the camel’s stride
i am repeating a mantra of a thousand years
what is this unknowable unknown?
i am not here, it repeats, you are not here
there are no answers among these stars
these stones


Amy Jackson

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Cortazar’s Beard


El humo inquieto
(the nervous smoke)
Por quien lo escribiste
(for whom you wrote it)
La dama quizas, mi
(the Lady perhaps, me)
y ahora lo estoy leyendo
(and now i am reading it)

time curve
on the planet
someone is always dreaming
in the dream curve

a temporary holding pattern
he’s shaking dreams out of the sky
out of the night
he wants me to see the insides
of the unseen
unspoken conversations intersect
insiste que lo que parece
(he insists that what seems to be)
no es lo total
(isn't everything)
el orden es fatal
(order is fatal)

I laugh with him so softly
Arranging the cups just so
Order is comfort, I whisper
Exactly, he says, too much so
He wants to break the paradox
For the jungle mind to rule
Velvet jungle brain
Ah, but he loves his cappucino, too
He loves his order
His rebellion is not absolute
Para quien lo escribiste
(for whom you wrote it)
Para la vida igual al irreal
(for the life equal to the unreal)
La vida simultanea al fuego
(life simultaneous to the fire)
Humo, selva, lapiz, toalla
(smoke, jungle, pencil, towel)

Ellos son, They are. The sound.
(they are)
Those two, they have become sound

La gatita pregunta, "donde estan los veranos"
(the kitten asks, where are the summers?)

In the bathroom stall
In the airport
Repetiendo, repetiendo
(repeating, repeating)
Alumbrada, alumbrada por
(illuminated, illuminated by)
I’m just going to keep saying
"Missassauga, Missassauga" like a child
Vermont, vraiment?
Lorsque je feuille
(when i leaf)
It means nothing
Some scribbled note nonsensed
But I hold on to it
Marcel a dit, "les gens heureux
(Marcel has said, the happy people)
Les gens heureux" et Pablo dit
(the happy people, and Pablo said)
Voila la chanteuse!
(Here is the singer!)
Y ella dice "no puedo cantar,
(and she says, i can't sing)
Tengo ochenta y cinco anos"
(i'm eighty-five years old)

Los chistes
(the little jokes)
Donde estan mis llaves negros
(where are my black keys)
La bruja dice Ojala
(the witch says God willing)

Witness that other touch
Transcendent insistence
That breathless spoke
In the wheel of the year
I’ll have what Persio is thinking



Amy Jackson

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Stroking Muscle Shoals


You would explode
I know
There is nowhere
For you to go
But I’m still here
You cut me off, short
But I’m still here
No place to vent
Your silent storm
I know the wall
That is there
But I’m still here
Stroking Muscle Shoals


Amy Jackson

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Sick Day


sipping beef broth quietly
i can taste the bones
touching mine
bone to bone
my soul is risen
up to my mouth
i can taste myself
the music seeping in
to my cells like before
when i could feel
now i feel again

she said i’m going to
have to move the needle
hold on
she left her mark
her blue clouds

now i’m just listening
to two clocks' ticks
all these cars passing
those miraculous planes
and through the curtains
the dark slipping in


Amy Jackson

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remembering bliss


i’m holding on to a piece of water
here comes another hit and another
i’m holding on to my heart
it’s a piece of water
which baby is it was she your daughter?
King Solomon i’m askin you which babies
do you pick to slaughter
which will shake the senseless
out of this tit for tat slaughter
which baby it is was it your daughter?
i’m holding on to a piece of water
it’s my heart trying to hold on
it’s another hit here comes another

and today they say those lovely birds
those lovely birds that cheer my mornings
that global warming has
confused their paths across the water
the other man is paid to differ with the risk
it’s man who has created this evil
this slow raping economic intertwined
King Solomon i’m askin you which do you choose
the eggs on that kids plate or the Robin’s
which babies do you choose to starve
that daughter or that warbler
the rape so systematic it’s intertwined
inextricably, inexplicably the crimes
it’s man who’s created this evil sucking
sound, watch he’s blaming Satan now

i’m holding on to a piece of water
here comes another hit and another
i’m holding on to my heart
it’s a piece of water
60,000 people maybe 600,000
throw them to the market

it’s just so hard to watch this slow war
knowing this thread pulls that one and
that one pulls this but there’s no end to
this knotted mess and after 9/11 i’m still
trying to remember bliss trying to remember


Amy Jackson

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Flood Plain

Duck River’s chocolate flooded
Up to the lip of the highway
Golden grasses tufting the sides
Shuddering over the bridges
The pilons lifting us up
Over waters so wide

I want to walk in all these fields
And leave a long green trail
I want to roll in all these furrows
And find my lover there
I want to float to the end of these floods
And rest safely in the arms of dusk

Why is that field suddenly Africa?
Gimme some more of that muddy guitar
To go along with this flood plain
How does it feel to want?
Okefenokee swamp

Chickasaw Hibiscus honeysuckle Cygnus
Expressway Church of Christ
Natchez Trace State Park

I want to walk in all these fields
And leave a long green trail
I want to roll in all these furrows
And find my lover there
I want to float to the end of these floods
And rest safely in the arms of dusk

Evergreens and deep lavender mountains
Barren Mother trees
Black cows in a greening field
Black-barked pine trees

Spring’s green mist buds
Out from under
Winter’s silvered hills
Soon Summer’s leaves will shimmer
Over each tree’s sun-reaching limbs


Amy Jackson

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The Honey Thread


basil kiss
mints kiss
abstract kiss
lip hickey
it kisses fate
unknown random other
opposite of hate
i’m biting into your random candies
i’ll eat cheesecake with you anytime

i’m flying into you for shelter
you are the wilderness
for my wild dove
i am the dove to your wild church
nestle into your neck
bury my face into your hands
and find my nest, my home
my wilderness preserve
until it’s safe to play again
safe for you
safe from my old impulse rages
we find peaceful places
in our hearts
peaceful playful passion places
to explore
as is, as is, without words

you are the sand in my shell
a patient heart making pearl
in the midst of my stormy mass
slalom jetsom gypsum basalt
the slow rhythm drumming a wild heart

i am the sand and you the slow wave
washing up bubbling laces
waves of pearl, waves of shell
i’m diving deep into your mouth
exploring your ocean, the ocean we are making

melting me to honey thread
the thread from me to you
the link between the engine
and that slow Memphis train
between the core of me and your ember
the purple trail of your mouth on me
the purple flood, the honey trail
dream sweet into that dark soft candy
go deep into that dark softly
dream slowly into this dizzy spin
dovetail, evensong, dovecote, dovespin
a dangerous journey into the deep end
the rope that holds us to the ship
the same other, cumbining second skins, winded

we’re floating in warm waves we’ve made
into an absolute joyous calm
you’re holding me, i’m holding you
in a honey-sea love rocking it
what we’ve found


Amy Jackson

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Some Simple Place


You can write anything now
One by one they’re going up
You can let it in
You can let it breathe
And still that old wound stings
As if there were only one

I was feeling fine before
I saw you
There was warmth and we
Were done
But they took it and it
Grew cold and sharp
I was better before
Just with these simple
Offerings, listening to
Summer leaves

There is this place
Where we touch each other
That will always be
In spite of you and me
And reality
There is a place of warmth
And wonder
where we smile like children
And ache like thieves

I’m offering them up
One by one
But they’re mistaken
It’s enough you see
It’s enough you see

I wonder at it
We share a mystery
A gallery of questions
A gallery of finding
What we already know
and holding
To nothing we can see

He came and found her
Butterflies and saved them
Before some deep soul in her
Forgot how to fly
No matter now how he came to
Be inside her
Except that somehow both
Were saved


Amy Jackson

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Nightmare Seam

the paper train
dream train
the same train same one
the same ruched velvet seam
the velvet room
steamed fruit
the night seam
nightmares riding the mare
the steaming roan with the
whip rides her on until she screams
violet seams up the backs of the thighs
she sighs and groans through the
violet seams of night

lavender mornings splayed playing
glissome fingers describe a curve
once learned forgotten veins

fingers describing a city’s turns
to the man who has lost his home
come find your home in me
come home dove comme home

Amy Jackson

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the third straight day of rain

wind blowing leaves in the road
rain drumming the sky
drumming the windshield
drumming the gravel

the street starred with droplets
stoplights taillights melted crayons
in the street

my hand dappled with raindrop
shadows under the windshield
in the dark of a rainy day

in the rain
on the corner
with his cell phone
with the rain
dropping light on his scalp
slogging the street
with his broken black umbrella

the world under my umbrella


Amy Jackson

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Candy House

the gingham tree
the yellow house
under Mary Magdalene’s night
she’s on the porch all day
with her butt stuck out
he watches for cars and
takes the cash
a pink night in her mouth
the flag makes gingham of itself
he loves his candy house

she said it
she said it once
la hermosura de tus ojos
yes, it’s beautiful
unless you live there without money


Amy Jackson

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he’s staring down the chair, that’s all
you keep choosing a palatable villain
to steal
your heat
what are you shredding today?
the security man takes a cigarette break
human synthetic
mismatched pieces of Ford
an alcoholic throwing a brick
at the discount liquor store sign
(mascara morning sequence)
business accordion
wholesale ribbon
Allnight Glass
Associated Food
Hot and Cold Sandwiches
Fresh Oysters
Any Color Any Size
Click Laminate
one rainbow
2 oversize loads
Cherry Valley
Dry Creek
Beech Creek
Round Lick Creek
Horse Sale
supplicated cloverleaf
Prepare to Meet Thy God
Dump Rock
Brick Block Here
Dirt Clean Fill
City of Smithville
Rainbow on Spring Street

his sweat is on my engine now
transmission fluid red coil
now my engine runs clean
my favorite pace
number 58, Bus number 26
everybody walkin it
slow summer
is it the heat or is it your mouth on me?
contagious heat
it’s just me trying to acclimate
no fight
the further away i get the day
becomes night
tell me is it Friday yet?

a milky sky
jet sky
left a ribbon in the sky
exclamation sky
skyborn seed
skyborn bliss
now they are all miracle planes

zuave zurave
cathartic Saturn
blood musk adrenaline
honey mango
beez sup
eternal daisy
Madagascar feuve

I came off the giddy to
practice wonder
it’s love practice
a pretty frenzy
evolving fusion
define it
popcorn chic


Amy Jackson


A Little Paradise

a little Sunday morning time
sipping coffee on the porch
there is little to match the grace
of the mint tumbling from the boxes
the light through pale pansies
September’s warm breath in the oak
leaves drifting down into the water

the birds are assembled
in surrounding trees
waiting for me to leave to feed
they’re going to have to wait
a while while i breathe

the squirrel came back
for one more seed
while i blinked at him
the first wren i’ve seen
flew up to ascertain

there’s nothing really
like the joy that wells
the bumbles came
to kiss the pansy faces
to visit the Veronica
to sup in heather bells

and i am filled as i will
fill the earth with water
as i will remember
the promise of Paradise


Amy Jackson

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Down to New Orleans

they painted the factory turquoise
to put a slight soft on the edge of
working there every day shifts
trucks rule here, snub-nosed essentials
get off my ass get off my ass
am i driving safely number scratched out
yeah yeah yeah

tall stacks of former trees now lumber steaming
hosed down so they won't burn
scrublands where forests were with tiny rows of
pines reforesting
they cut them down and grow them back
over and over again
when we entered Mississippi there was a Magnolia
on the sign
we saw six planted
they've planted magnolias and crape myrtle on the
places that they've shaved
make it nice like
and even so i'm glad for that
one volunteer Magnolia and two men were measuring it with orange tape
Birmingham Tuscaloosa Slidell
long green corridor for miles of pine
intermittent swamps and big and little muddies
some happy alligators
Pearl River Scuttlebut
Lake Pontchartraine and six pelicans bent-winged in the wind
Bayou Sauvage and the highway is buckling with
moisture underneath
Louis Armstrong is singing to a very different landscape even tho in places it looks the same
feels the same ghosts for hours at a time
it holds the very wind of hope

what do they do around here for that?
all along the way
every day
what do they do for hope?

a quiet place in the quarter subtropic
bottle the sound of that train
that steamboat whistle
it holds the very wind of hope

each day they work and come home tired
how is it that people still act like high school and
power tripping for the money for the job for the
payday overtime venting box tv escape
i'm touching all the places where they feel warm
again at home and with friends
and start all over again tomorrow
the kids all wondering where their lives are
is it here or somewhere else one day?

here in this one small space of streets there is
a dedicated aesthetic Vieux Carre
there they have to hose down the streets each night
for vomit and despair
escape that was found steams off the bricks
but the smell is harder to chase down
it sticks in the very air
the hanging plants here are plastic hurricanes
the beads are decaying on the iron
people come and they do find fun and escape
love acts here means anonymous sex if you're paying
to watch or perform

but here acts of love are live
frothy green and erotic shades of comfort
with comatose men stumbling their way through
the tourists and natives seeking coffee and
we're sucking it up we suck
up planned beauty
rows of windows full of art and light
and chandeliers
gothic antiques
avoid the where you from quick change men

the saxophonist and the quartets all inject beauty
from their stoops
into the very air
and it lofts through the market
to the persimmons and the strung red peppers
bottles of spice and voodoo kits
and the water calls into it
shifting its own ghosts into the mix
lime green and hot pink boas
t-shirts and candy beads
plastic boob amulets and liquor stores

one more street down and back to quieter voices
rows of long shuttered windows and balcony respites
this is what we recall when we are napping
this is where i stop you from our running at night
from cover to cover to kiss you in the dark
the ghosts whisper up beside us
and then go off running down the street
this is what it is about
this kissing life art

no matter where it is
it repeats in the light between the trees
along the corridor greening up
all the way back up
this is where they find their hope

Thanksgiving Day
Amy Jackson

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my hand is lost between us
finding your thigh

mi mano esta perdida entre nosotros
encontrando tu muslo

finding my hunger
you’ve enfolded me
through the night
i’m all wrapped up in swaddling
you’re unwrapping me again now
and this morning you stir the terror coil
it comes shaking out of me
that scream
but the scream cannot escape
i sound like a baby gurgling
at a breast
i hear myself and why

descubriendo mi hambre
me has infoldado
durante la noche
estoy envuelto por todo en fajadura
estas desenvolviendome otra vez ahora
y esta manana despirtas la serpentin de terror
se va temblando de mi
esa grita
pero la grita no puede escapar
sueno como una bebe
por una seno
me escucho y porque

no one else can touch
the deepest heart of me
and still I shatter Atocha
I erupt Kiloweah Krakatoa
and still you return
into the red mine of thirst

ningun otro pueda tocar
mi corazon mas profundo
y todavia destrozo Atocha

Erupto Kilowea Krakatoa
y todavia regresas
por la mina de sed roja

i’ve become part of the sound
in your throat
i’ve become part of your throat now
the milk and the mud and the heat we make
clay shaping one sound
we are swirling in the same coil
now i’m shuddering out
enfolded again now by your side

me has tornado parte del sonido
en tu garganta
me has sentido parte de tu garganta ahora
la leche y la cieno y el calor hacemos
arcilla formando uno sonido
nos arremolinamos en la misma espiral
ahora me estremezco afuera de mi
infoldado ahora otra vez por tu lado

i don’t want to move
from the glow we are in
the sea pulses around us
we are pulsing in the sea
the ether sea
pulsing in each other
we are one
caresses dear one
I’m learning how to touch your face
so much passion
so much tenderness that frightens me
I can’t move

no quiero moverme
from the shock of your loving me
de la incandescencia en que estamos
el mar pulsa alrededor de nosotras
el mar de eter
estamos pulsando en el mar
pulsando cada en el otro
estamos uno
caricias carecido
estoy aprendiendo a tocar tu cara
tanto tendreza que me asusto
tanto pasion
Que estoy inmovil
del choque de tu amor

how have you learned to love me so?
How do you know how to touch me so?
you have made a rose
out of my mouth
you are making a rose
out of me
the bed is full of petals
i am blooming beside you
you are finding my roses
you are finding my flower
I am flowering for you now
I don’t want to move from you now
from the light of the glow of wonder
we have made

como aprendiste como amarme asi?
Como sabes como tocarme asi?
tu ha creado una rosa de mi
de mi boca
esta creando una rosa
de mi
la cama esta llenada de petalos
estoy florando a tu lado
estas descubriendo mis rosas
estas encontrando mi flor
Estoy florando ahora para ti
No quiero moverme de tu lado
de la luz de la incandescencia de maravilla
que hemos hechado

I’m learning to accept the pleasure
exploring a jungle of pleasures
A pleasure jungle
We are seeking the primal root tropicum
Where there are flowers that only bloom at night
Where there are flowers that only bloom during the day
Where we are finding new species of wonder
We are enjoying fresh and rare fruits

Estoy aprendiendo a aceptar esta placer
explorando una selva de placeres
Una selva de placer
Buscamos la raiz primordial tropicum
Donde son flores que solamente flora en la noche
Donde son flores que solamente flora durante el dia
Donde estoy descrubriendo especies de maravillas nuevas
Estamos disfrutando de frutas frescas y raras

I am your sutra
Where there used to be screams
Now the blue night dreams
You are teaching me to share the morning light
With new eyes
our mantra of one
being at one with us
I’m learning to accept this peace
To accept this pleasure place
This is what home is supposed to be
I’m finally coming home to stay

Soy tu sutra
Donde estaban gritos
Ahora la noche azul suena
Esta ensenandome compartir la luz del amanecer
Con ojos nuevos
nuestro mantra de uno
estando en uno de nosotros
Estoy aprendiendo a aceptar esta paz
A aceptar este lugar de placeres
Este es lo que significa "en casa"
Por fin me voy a mi refugio a quedarme


© 11/12/02

Amy Jackson

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