Photo Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths



Marcus Jackson poems


Marcus Jackson

                  645 Phillips Ave.



House whose basement flooded

            during every rowdy rain.  House

whose staircase creaked

                        like the knees of the retired farmer

I imagined built it.  My family rented it

            a century after he could've lived,


            ambulance garage adjacent,

sirens that breeched our sleep.

                        Most my parents' fights

happened in the morning, coffee maker prattling

            while birds pecked yard for food.

With sister and friends, I dragged


dad's ashtray Kools, pulls

                        banked in the jagged snub before butt.

A crony borrowed my bedroom

            to bumble with Danielle Combs, Magnavox

lilting dubbed R&B.

                        Some nights, by myself, I climbed


                        out a window to sit

on moss-blotched roof,

            meld my eyes to sky.

Whoever owns this house

                        has torn it down.  A removal crew

hasn't yet trucked up.


Blocks of baked clay, mortar

                        in stray, gray strands, plaster

ironballed to flour, disconnected

            intestine of pipes.

You should do like me, lift

                        an intact brick,


                                                let it chalk your palm maroon,

let it convey the weight it takes

            to cog a wall, to tolerate

110 Ohio winters, let alone

                        the sounds and the heat

each tenant pressed against it.



Poets' Condolences To Critics



Complete pity

your delicate skin forbids you

from the June sun strumming

every atom in this public park.


Sympathy for your keen

allergies, frenzied by the fine

green powder our children

kick airborne, running

and play-screaming through clover.


Our gravest laments extend

toward your diabetes, dismissing

this stocky slice of Sweet Potato Pie,

auntie-baked (unwritten recipe

only family's allowed to learn).