Amy Jackson

Writings 2010

Color Code

I live in the red
I live in the black, in the light
I live in the colors that meet the sky
So much snow we were trapped for a while
Colors our respite
I wore red for my smile
Blue for my jeans
Yellow for the Harvest Moon
So long since we’ve seen it now

In primary school we started with red, yellow and blue
Mixed the paint with our fingers ‘til we made lots of goo

The primary colors thrive
Even when Summer dies
The gold of the Sun
We can hardly remember
Primary colors make all of the colors
When you mix them
Like light holds them all
Inside of its broad spectrum
The dark Winter’s night
Holds all of the colors
If you let it

We painted the buildings bright colors each Winter
We painted over all of their drab browns and grays
We have the means in the depth of Winter’s pall
To pull colors like threads around us like blankets
To pull together as the Sun is leaving
The Sun returns bit by bit each day
Even as we are grieving

So very hard to remember amidst Winter’s blahs
The flower petals – the glowing leaves of Summers past
The clearest sky -- how the trees just breathe
The blues and the greens
The red Canna’s juice
Skyjuice lightjuice breathjuice
Rejoicing as it fills us all
In return the Sun asks for nothing
But to Grow Grow Grow! And Tall!

The Sun is now returning with its Spring
Soon with the heat of Summer we will feel its sting
Hope that we will save our complaining
Celebrate our many blessings
Even now with global warming
We are pulling together
We are weaving colors
With our arms, with our fingers
Painting the sky with our dreams

Now the children are playing
Among the colors we made
As our elders are seeking the shade
We walk hand in hand
Thrilling in sultry warm Summers
Moment by moment
Blessed in the rare green glades
That somehow still remain

Planting trees, inviting the bees to kiss our flowers
Drumming up, strumming up the life within us
Adrenaline coursing again through our veins

Sowing seeds with DNA encoded in their darkness
From within a tiny sunflower seed’s dark insides
Somehow it know what to do
The flowers grow tall and bright
Somehow deep within our own darkness we do, too
In spite of the unknowns, somehow we know
That secret, the magic code of our souls

Unfolding reality out of our dreams
The colors knew all along
Birthed in the Sun’s spectrum
They know the color code
The mystery of growing our souls
All year long


Amy Jackson

written with muse Heather Schmaedeke's painting Primary HS
for Soul Revival: Artistic Expressions of Renewal
co-sponsored by Meroe Art Gallery & Authentic Contemporary Art
May 1 - August 1, 2010
Meroe Art Gallery
The West Baltimore Center for Urban Art


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(oh, it's a happy tale!)

It's my time of year
My birth in October was to bring new life
At the time of so much death all around, 1963,1964
But it continued, 1968
I am a witness to the massacre of heroes
But they continue to rise
Like buds on the tulip tree
Innocent, profound, courageous, true
Like soldiers

The colors are dropping from the trees
Like rain
Like apples

My poet is back
On a crying jag
Nightmares, now wired
I don't care if the pizza man sees
A great day for delivery
He sees, looks away, “Oh the rain” he says
15 dollars worth of pure heaven, yes
it's worth it in the end
maybe now I can sleep

“Ca ne fait rien”
You used to remind me
Both of us in beginning high school French
Is what you meant
I know it now
Against the odds of daring Heaven
Teenagers have
You drove to save my life once
Filled me full of coffee
Until I could see straight again

Now we don't speak at all
But I know
It does matter
Adds up to something good

The leaves have dappled the ground
Will become brown, flake into skeletons
I adore them in every stage

The branches wet and black
Bare as new poetry
Bones in my hand
More defined
They found the missing girl's bones
Turn it all off for now
That's enough
I was missing in front of your eyes
All that time

Now I'm finding myself in pieces
Over and over again
Metabolism, menopause
The revolving door in my heart
Where lovers and fathers
Brothers and sisters
Beat and move on
up and out
only to return
I've seen this movie a million

Like the innocent calves
Seeing the calf hearts over the fires
Of Argentina
Not knowing, not knowing
But fighting, eating, breathing

Yes, dear, somehow
It's worth it

Maybe that is the new life
I bring, some strange ragged perspective
Missing, missing pieces
But still here

I don't think the poem is finished
after all


Amy Jackson

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Balancing Act

Actions, behaviors
I’m sorting them out

Blessings and saviours
My mantra
Blessings, blessings
learning to be devout


the Nature of my heart
the darkness has its place
but forward on to the Light

as the trees, leaves and flowers
reach up for the Sun
so I reach for my gratefulness
in the faces of doubt
challenges and renewed inspiration

create a new world
one breath at a time



Amy Jackson

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I hear it

Some part of me is jungle
Some lost place
Wild and found by me this time

There I am again
Hidden under the leaves
Awaiting the panther’s paws
In the mud of me

I’m nostalgic like that
For Earth in my veins
In my DNA

Even when the jungles are
she will remember
their shudder in the rain
the blood and the helicopters hovering
getting the wounded in
over over again

but more than that
under the demystifying napalm
the mortal coil of palms
to flowers below
except in
ancient Vietnamese (and French) poetry

the names of cities I can forget now
under siege under siege battlefields

now I can float in the canals of Halong Bay
I know this

(Venice, New Orleans, polar sinking

the Lime Sink on the family farm ... )

we had the Cold War
you have the forever after what we have wrought ever after
and we have it with you

somehow there is light still

I can see it
Under the leaves

Of a disappearing
near you

coming soon …


Amy Jackson


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