Poetry Drawer: The Dark: Howlers: Wealthy Sibling Photoshoot: Rice: Bump by James Croal Jackson

The Dark

I lay in the dark. Still as a spider
I haven’t yet decided if I am

going to kill. I am done giving
meaning to arduousness. I could

quit my job but another will fill
it. With worthlessness. The oval

mirror reflects nothing
without the presence of light.


the bar on Liberty Ave
with wolf on window
singing into microphone

under the moon with drinks
in me I sometimes transform
in daylight I am worthless

watching the impeachment
plop on a walk an old man

with a cane limping down
Liberty Ave wearing MAGA

the war is happening the old
men are crossing the road

Wealthy Sibling Photoshoot

Stepping out of their pool,
wet feet dripping onto
afternoon cement–
luxury sunglasses,
soft and floral swimwear,
perfect voluminous

Over the fence behind
them– the Instagram
background– vines
drop, dangle, gaining
strength in the sun.

Skulking forward,
their shadows
take from their
own darkness.


My mother coming home
from work:
you better get the rice started.

I know. This is my
duty, always, and yet
I forget
until your call–

my father watches
on cars pass by.

The dark
and rural road.

He makes a game:
how many cars
until it’s Mom

We count one,
two, three, twenty

steam rising over
in another room, childhood.


The world
is a squirrel

in the middle of
a country road

and– phone out,
music loud–

I can’t tell
if I ran it over.

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. His latest chapbooks are Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022) and Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021). Recent poems are in Stirring, Vilas Avenue, and *82 Review. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Twitter/Instagram

You can find more of James’ work here on Ink Pantry.

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