{poetry} gary jackson

on
“Multiple Man: Guest-Starring Me & You” 

  by Gary Jackson

Every night I sleep on alternate

sides of the bed, as if to duplicate

sleeping with you. If

I’m fast enough, I’m the warmth

of my own body beside me, reach

out and touch myself. Breach

the blue of my bones, breathe in my own ear.

 

You left me. Lying here,

I left you to be with me.

Someone asks if your body

was worth trading for mine.

My sin was always pride.

Did you want a man that sleeps

with himself to keep

the bed warm? I need you like the earth

needed the flood after dearth.

 

About this poem:  “That first night you’re back to sleeping alone again, expecting another body beside you, and the physical absence is so jarring that you think what if I could become the body I miss? Multiple Man could do it, but I can’t. And of course he’s a mutant superhero, because I can’t help myself.”—Gary Jackson.

{via poets.org}

———————————-

Home from Work, I Face My Newborn Mutant Son

—by Gary Jackson

from Missing You, Metropolis 

I hold my six-pound baby boy

in my hands, pink as sand.

His skin is glass.

.

This is not a metaphor.

My wife did not hemorrhage alone

on our wood floor for metaphor.

.

Even now, he squirms—his small cries

are like the whine of well-worn brakes.

He cuts into my palms and slides

.

in the creased blood. I see

his tiny organs getting used to their work,

while my wife—bled out—grows cold.

.

What paper-bag test can this boy pass?

His skin reflects the white of my eyes.

And I know he cannot last.

.

For a moment, before I drop him,

I wonder how he’d make it?

Even if his skin does harden—to

.

crystal, to diamond—it won’t be

enough, and I could not bear the sight

of him hanging like an ornament,

.

a glass boy from a tree, or find him

cracked open, splintered in the street.

As he shatters on the floor,

.

everything from his heart to lungs

freezes like the hands

of a wristwatch at ground zero.

.

{via Graywolf Press; the ‘.’ are mine to combat spacing/formatting errors.}

———————————–

gary jacksonGary Jackson was born in Topeka, Kansas. Missing You, Metropolis, which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, is his first book published, however, he has had other works published in inscapeLiterary BohemianMagma, and others. He recieved his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 2008.
————————————
Of Poet Gary Jackson’s work and his first collection Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf Press 2010) in particular.
—“Jackson integrates the comic-book world of superheroes like Spider-Man and Batman into his world as a black adolescent in Kansas. . . . The finale is gentle, almost anticlimactic, as he recalls how his superheroes let him ‘inhabit a world a page removed from our own,’ hinting at the grace of (temporary) escapism.”—San Francisco Chronicle
—“Jackson masters a parallel universe in verse.”—The Brooklyn Rail
—“Jackson’s love for the comic genre shines through in this collection, making it a must-read for anyone who appreciates the form.”—PWxyz, the blog of Publishers Weekly
p missing you—“It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read a comic because his deft maneuvering between the inner lives of mutant superheroes and the “mutant” perspectives of the wayward and the Other works towards this poet’s primary subject: time.  Looking back on the past— recounting the losses of friends, family, and old selves—refracts a vision of our future and who we might become. And so Jackson describes a photograph of children as “Our bodies an ellipsis on the snow field: / leading us nowhere on a blank page.”Missing You, Metropolis is a heartbreaking debut that leads not to nowhere but to the knowledge that how we embrace our childhood wonder determines how we arrive at adulthood.  For Jackson, that wild route is as circular as it is circuitous, and his first collection suggests that, for his benefit and ours, he is a poet who will wander far and never grow old.”  —Jennifer Chang for Poetry Society of America, “Gary Jackson, selected by Jennifer Chang: An Introduction to the Work of Gary Jackson
—————————————-
more poems…
Graywolf Press provides sneak peeks of Jackson’s collection, here.
“Gap” is published in Issue 3 (Feb 2009) of Literary Bohemian, here.
—————————————-

Gary Jackson reads “Nightcrawler Buys a Woman a Drink”

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