James Croal Jackson – 3 poems

Existential Food Poems

 

After reading five food poems in a row,

I paused, told the audience I get inspiration

from food. I meant energy, really.

At home, sometimes, I sit at the table

eating noodles and suddenly

I am at the table eating noodles!

I look at the floppy strings

on my plate and ask myself

what I’m doing. Converting

loose ends to energy, according

to education. Google tells

me to stop eating so many noodles

but to stop means I’m

no longer energy– the will

to go on. These laces

tying my stomach

consumed by gastric acids

transform into aminos

that fuel me, somehow,

these noodles that don’t

make sense but somehow

allow my string of days

to keep dangling, serve

me on a plate so that

I may have the right

to exist, so I can fall

in love with someone

and they can fall,

too, and steam

until we cool enough

for them to stick

their fork in me,

then wonder, what

am I doing? The

fork swivels,

gathers

a tornado

of noodles.

 

🍃

 

 

Further, Further

 

 

I know the pang of distance / ghost of friendship cold air

conditioned inauthentic rumblings no more / passage into

the familiar / sea / a yellow boat rocks near the Atlantic

shore / I evade the sun / seek any shade to shield myself

of affection / affected by the moon / far apart again no /

vacation for the heart

 

 

🍃

 

 

In Pittsburgh, the First Time,

 

 

you told me Friendship is a road

split by two roads, parallel to Liberty,

and I told you that was a poem,

but you said, no, I’m just giving you

direction, and I looked up from your eyes

to the green sign reading Friendship Ave

and knew what you meant. Friendship–

we had yet to spend our first night

in the city, one that would end in

a dark cocktail bar for a dance party

that never materialized. In the morning,

we rode rented bicycles with bent

spokes and a click in their spinning

and I could only follow your lead

and cycle through streets still unfamiliar

to me– we weaved through lonely roads

to the Strip District, then stopped

at the Sixth Street Bridge to admire

the glimmer of the river that warm

winter day and continued until

we found the hill to Randyland

too steep to ride so, off our bikes,

we walked side-by-side up the path

until reaching our destination;

we locked our broken bikes

and kept walking.

 

 

🍃

 

 

 

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Columbia Journal, Rattle, Hobart, Reservoir, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Find him at jimjakk.com and @jimjakk.

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