Jackson

For Jacksonville, Florida

 

The poet is engulfed in your girth, Jackson.

demons on backs are your shoulder-flies, Jackson.

sewer drains river to ocean in skeletal osmosis

no flesh spared to your scalpel, Jackson.

theories are cadavers to your ideal eternity

stacked in your crypts of cypress daggers and pubic moss

Huguenot skull sunken, lurched on beaches with sand in the eye.

The lover sinks into your floating earth, Jackson

still waters reflect the fear of beneath

though the creatures do know your secret, Jackson.

they know your eternity.

 

Narcissist!

I see your license photo on manhole covers

all my child years bombarded by your mugshot on sidewalks

Captor! Lord! Sadist!

 

Dispense some proverbial aphorism—

stroll down Memory Expressway;

repression is your gift from high, Jackson

mantle top recollections cry gaily

between exposed and prostrate blows from circuit riding presbyters’ fists.

Where is the room without entrance?

Where is that building with no door?

the wounds we won’t close are the smoke signals to

squeeze it out

occupants, inhabitants, pus

Let it be known.

 

Finite you are, Jackson

long waits can come from those who take no numbers,

one has no end without a beginning.

 

I sat by your freshwater statue

where I’d planned to meet solution, who lives inside the globe

who arrived a month later, after I didn’t ask why I’d come

with [victim] and I…

Oh, [victim],

whom may any of us confide in?

certainly not an eternity

And you are no one’s confidante, either

Jackson—

 

as you are sloven we are also sloven.

you are curt with us, as we with you.

as you prescribe, we take our nightly walks

from one utility pole to the next –

 

Novocain!

Severance!

Opioids scattered atop a Rod Stewart record!

Trailer pit telepathy!

We found christlike detritus in the frozen foods and

Anywhere but here!

Anywhere but here!

Her lips were the color of blues that has been all but alive for

silent laborious revived and expectant years behind the yogurt and TV dinners

on account of misguided practitioners of

food safety inspection of

an entire pantheon of

notables of

the god that killed her and owns an RV park and sold you bad linoleum,

Jackson.

turns tricks involving no magic, Jackson

and with what you keep

one need not wait for,

and where I go, I will never die.

 

(You have straddled the neck of

the valiant persevering the first stanza of life unscribed (Stephen Crane swam away from us)

will not ride into battle is frightened by the vacancies of street corners

 

there’s a shadow in the moonbeams and it is not

identified

without weapon thought could talk out of anything

wriggling out of logic with language since sundown

wheneverthatwas—

 

tightrope the power lines/ slide from the tear ducts air ducts

gutter kiddiepool neighborhood boulevard airport Entropy.

Degenerate. into a night of extreme awareness of decay/

you can see your skins turning to mulch right before

you say so now would I be repulsed by rot/ touch the flesh which once was

mine, after converting into Entropy’s fleshy glob parasitic leeching

kingdom and power and glory from my hide?

 

Do you feel the infection

spreads like a sunrise

 

(we only live once I told someone—

I never knew why she fell silent…

You whispered something in her ear, didn’t you

You told her we’d already lived once and so had one up

and she was a fool because she smelt the air when I told her to

a keepsake))

 

An ultimatum—

to andrew to randolph to hart to ancestral pedestrial hand-me-down

civility

to riverfront houses to flophouse apartment to backalleys of

Winn-Dixie gentlemen’s discount tire clubs

to all the homespun epiphanies of innate glory

of having even one fraction more in the Outside

all so that you may serve our decorative interior tombs,

constellations that float down old man muddies through broken levies.

—a choice to scatter the straw of my nesting from here

to Forever if so wanted.

 

microcosm invisible organ, Jackson

appendage.

 

dead edison avenue hangnail train track I contemplate the

chase of the baggage car

Cult 45 shards abroad quaint churchyard strewn switchblade saw grass

and there’s the mighty titan, cast bronze in the field

lone wall like a post without fence

laminated illuminated fantastic

The Phantom of the Interstate Billboards

Specter of the Swamp Tours; Suwannee to Key

Born on a greyhound Great White Noise of the South

Now I feel like Floorda— exit that, I am Floorda!

I sell snowdomes and parkingpermits, oranges, citrustarts

neoncolors, and cuban children! Moonshine sunset phallus of Atlantic

 

everything is elderly in appearance it’s the decay It spreads like mold on a tangerine it leaves us a broken home

And you— are a five mile road, Jackson,

A massacre A side of beans and coleslaw A bible

jimmy buffet at a Coke machine kicking the plexiglass in Gimme muh goddamm shaker uh salt

smelling like BBQ sawdust bottled affection in empty Lavilla lots

and Jackson the Village crier who sold his soul to it for a lifetime in withdrawal

 

(paper bag tumbleweeds on an empty street in Middleburg;

they were all once friend of our)

 

And as I’m swallowed by your gluttony I find the psalm to scream:

Narcissist! Narcissist! Narcissist!

We found the lost child from your nightmares ‘neath the glass-bottom boat and

Tearing up floor boards discover old ax handles and

Anywhere but here!

Anywhere but here!

Anywhere but here!

Anywhere but here…

 

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