interplay of flames, hands

faces of candles

the night slowly rhythms

an old loving song of its own


erratic cat at the window

excited deeply at the filling moon


ancient languages tiptoe gingerly

grasp and leap into nighttime

time, words skins make

so briefly in peace with another's

phrases we are only beginning

to fathom


rock your baby to sleep

she thinks she can translate



Amy Jackson







it doesn't come often, only once a year

in early May to the parking lot

in front of the abandoned store fronts

of a dying shopping center


it consists of mostly red

machines and poorer people afford it


except for the man who videotapes

his properly clad lovely wife and

daughter on the stiff merry-go-round

he turns it off to save film when they

leave his frame of reference

choosing not to capture the thin

blond girl waiting for the magic to

hit her on a cold plastic pony

white, with a green garland

painted on its neck

each time she passes before his

waiting smile, her slump is a little


rounder in the turn of her head

opposite dot on a silly cruel circle



a black man walks softly

in long shorts with a pink sailboat

on them, white striped turquoise

muscle shirt and black sunglasses



boys make fun and practice karate

kicks in the air behind


him, and his friends fluctuate as if

within his personal cloud eleven

adding weight to his graceful life


life, a girl pushes at them

tells them to stop

picking at him behind his

back, making


fun, they head toward the swinging

twin bullet ride which will twist their

reality up and down and sideways

and their screams come from the

bullet with the rebel flag attached

flashing clear white bulbs


spinning, losing to the machine and

gravity pulled from their insides

they let go with all hands


corn dogs and hot dogs

the couple with faded loose clothes

young-old and weary, head to the red

fence to enter, she almost ahead of his

reluctant but complying steps, there is



sun streaks out like in

movies about God sending messages

above it all

out of context

outdated symbolically

no one looks up

it returns behind tomorrow's

rain clouds coming in


there is only

one little girl on the automobile-go-round

pretending to drive a masculine red truck

instead of the sports car, bus, motorcycle or

sedan, soft and curly brown hair

turning in the wind toward daddy's



at night it will be

anotherness for them, next week


it will be gone.



Amy Jackson





flying in an apple



lip as petal slow-curling

finish it off, quick

spherical wonder of mouth-surprise


you didn't say it out loud for eight years, but

tonight you found the wing-edge of a tongue

nestled warm-dark-soft-red and beating

time to a fault

just behind my ear


listen to the staccato-artery, running safely and

wild, back behind the earth they struggle with bones,



blue-eyed schizoid words

emit them foul and true

waste your time, full of it,

high-flying dares the flower,

final cut.



Amy Jackson

published in WordWrights Magazine

Issue #21, January/February, 2001






For Once




turning onto the interstate, the




quiet sky --

summer shower has spent itself onto the

growing highway, and fragrant gray

cloud-feathers, air-sucked and rent, float,

move without an imposed speed limit or

engine full of dinosaurs, but

flowing, shining white streaks


ribbons, silver


blue and blue for a few moments without the

hot haze of a hovering drought-stricken summer

pollution in a dingy brown band, above it changing

realms of space, and, for once, the freshly wet

highway mirrors magnificence

reflects the atmosphere triumphant

simply there


headless praying mantis-like forms of

steel holding wires in a frozen parade,

how we love to imitate

pretend to evolve above and away from

what we destroy


in the distance

coming the other way

on the opposite side of a dirty

beige concrete divider

automobiles roll in each others' wet and

steam like disciplined metal pigs,

the pollution rising light-brown

above it a grove of trees


receives a rhythmic sky


somewhere children stop their gaming to

gaze and dream and see shapes they

cannot create

but i don't know where they are, or when

or why they survive inside of me

with other rhythmic eyes


rushed hour, resume safe


don't look at the sky

look where you're going.


© 7/12/88


Amy Jackson





for what it's worth



behind the cloud of your own steam you close your mind to intruders

like your memory of me, my potential as appraised, but that's ok


because the ending was off on both sides even though the pictures

seemed to be


perfect, they have curled and fallen from the wall, with

preview filmstrips flying, unconnected the show abruptly

finished when the director lost


interest like a Black Monday in

relationship investment markets, escape behind a cloud of your own

assets, start your own theme music, make an independent film, the


smoke rolls in through a vent, grandly speechless, it swallows your

thought in thick, untouchable white.


the world is crisp and clear-blue-cold.

tribal, the woods echo green with it.


no war, but you like it played that way,

deafen the sense of your own

rebel, rebel, come outside.


no one is watching, but me.


never mind, with your over-speculation

you may never find an equal.





Amy Jackson





good paper




cheaper sex and semi-expensive red lipstick

sticks freshly there like gum, there, where she

sold herself again


drugstore models wink cardboard eyelids

it's all for sale and clinically proven to reduce

reality to the semblance of youthful perfection


stinking steam does not rise, returns to

haunt these back and side streets

of blood and screams

deals of the aching unwise


so many dollars through her cigarette-yellowing

fingers, she's memorized the feel of good paper


her going price is coming down, as new

runaways make hotter commodities, fuller

lips, wider eyes, money still feels good


in their rose-tipped hands






Amy Jackson








who would've thought a man with a cello

could disappear so fast on a wet Saturday

street in Atlanta

at noon

with her hands curled inside like knots

flapping like pale ribbons

almost hello, walking behind him

by accident


who would have called to him

for the cello curve to turn like a question

and a stranger and said

what? look, I don't know you and I

know you don't know me

or my hands, nor I the touch of your

eyelashes on my stomach


a scrap of paper wet and run over in the street

would blow away in the wind tomorrow


his movement before her and the

foolishness of fear


as if, when they parted of course

when she drove back to that corner next

Saturday he would be there

or anyone would


waiting on a cracked slab of concrete

with a cello




Amy Jackson





her hands



she paints herself with dry

fingers into the bath-steam

into the mirror




the differences between you


and her

green and yellow echoes


a little bit of sky blue


red thrown into white, the

black pours out of the blood


paints herself

with hot and cold pieces

of her hands




Amy Jackson





his and hers



with the inside of his hands his arms his

mouth he explores her source

wave-tossed, rainwashed, wind-ravaged

cracked marble soul

she not the classic Greek woman-man,

large-proportioned muscles nor perfect symmetry

not what anyone calls her

her fury is a finger reducing her essence to category


sometimes she ever-fleeing turtle-necked poet

writhes upon dream-glass-shards


with the outsides of heart he magnet to her

shuddering, calming, tremble-storming cloud-mass

within and upon her, search secrets' interiors

non-places, non-times, essence so rude so

light-filled divine, blend colors to onyx polish,

boil to desert-white bone, flight of dynosaur womb

adventure-spirit shared

create and destroy in flame the phoenix eternal

with the back of a fist

the delicacy of form-surface

shatter a menagerie of sheltered dream-creature-flowers


out, drifting out afloat

upon a steel-colored sea

after lovemaking with angel-demon, angel-demon, demon-

angel sounds

welcome, love, you terrify

and pleasing

stretching wings of flame

glow and burning ember-eyes

cool to the inside of his soul, touching hers




Amy Jackson





in a field



a long ways from

Danny's World of Tires

in a field

where a society of cows

stands in the shade

we are watched

earth flies away from my feet

he laughs at gravity


holds my hand

licks my lip

in a field of small blooms

the world flies away


from our feet




Amy Jackson

published in WordWrights Magazine

Issue #21, January/February, 2001  






she curls up to the television

she doesn't have a heater

it warms her and the roaches

like to get warm with her

forget forget she

loves the game of commerce ---

images like raccoons with

little black hands, washing food

no matter what there is to eat,

polluted or not, in the stream ---

she thinks they're cute, she

feeds them with brand names

dropping from her imaginary

lips because she has no food to

speak of

but she would buy it if she did

she likes to mention Bloomingdales

to the others in the soup line

they love to listen to her empty teeth

they curl up to her, inside,

they don't have a heater, either

and her roaches all have names



Amy Jackson





memoirs of a cat



it was

right after she changed out of her last skin

when she

did it, that new

sound with the mouth she did

and I could never describe how,

not being like her, you know



I just stopped licking my face with a wet paw

looked and listened to see if

she would do it again, but, as she looked back

I resumed

Wash, but thought it rather, you know,

memorable, as I


curled to find my sleep.




Amy Jackson





the egg



in her hand the half

shell of an empty bird-egg

somewhere by now the bird has taken

flight, somewhere chirping, distant from her

hand, her eyes, but he can see the

wings she imagines, reflected in

leaf-colored eyes, above them in the

sky, a hundred small birds fly

feathersounds, flightsounds


in her hand the empty half

in his, the other, and they

know how hearts can grow, and

fly away, tamer ones, like

theirs, though, stay near the

feather touch

strokes of luck and love



© 8/28/88

Amy Jackson





the way the road sounds when it's wet



like the side of your face in the dark

the back of your hand again and again

against the what for and why anymore wall, white,

that greasiness of the street and tread of tires black-clinging

feel of your chest against my belly reappearing like a moon, reappearing,

revealing, rebounding with silence, magnetized,

rubbing of opposites


pins from Mama's sewing box as a child scientific

forcing the polarity

coaxing disharmony from tiny steel points


gravity pulling them apart at the place where

pinpoints match and fall into her lap lightly


tires screeching, hold my thought to the road, slick

rain flowing thin contours of your darkest faces, blink

them away, gone my face off of yours to whisper-sleep,

like the back of your fist falls from the wall to your side


like magnets pulling a dream-fragment of the way the

road sounds when it's wet




Amy Jackson

published in WordWrights Magazine

Issue #21, January/February, 2001