Found Sacred   2 comments

A child chooses a space where pine tree branches hang low, where no grass grows giving the bare ground beneath the tree a circular religious feel, perfect for the child to be unnoticed. Sometimes she settles inside a metal culvert under a road, a dry tunnel for her to sit where no one blames, no one intrudes. She places rocks in the shape of a heart, and other found objects, a rubber molded doll with a green Robin Hood hat and brown boots, a stack of sticks for a pretend fire. In these places, she wonders over thoughts and feelings. She raises her voice in song, and words formed from interpretations of her world all become a sort of prayer, sometimes solemn, sometimes joyous.

 

With no indulgences, blessings, or lessons needed, she consecrates the earth beneath a tree and in a metal culvert.

 

The child becomes a woman. She decides what is holy, and what she will make holy. If God, Jesus Christ, gods, or the blessed trinity exist, they exist in her, even if, or, because, she is a woman or neither, because it should not and does not matter.

 

She discovered the sacred between breathy ideas, curling leaves, deadly goodbyes,

times held in limbo, and the thoughts before the brush of paint meets the canvas whether it remains or is wiped off, before words mark a page whether they are erased or not.

 

With no indulgences, blessings, or lessons needed, she consecrates intentions and all else that keeps her alive.

 

The child grows old under the tree and in the culvert. She lies on her back now feeling the packed ground under her tree and when she rolls to her other side, she senses cool metal. Her toenails have grown into talons, yellowed and thick with lines of strata marking years. Her nails contain chalk, soot, earth, algae, scars from a once-smashed toe, they are rough-edged catching on blankets reminding her of loving someone those summers when she hoed the garden barefoot with callouses so thick she stood a quarter inch taller. Loving all those someone’s in a lifetime.

 

With no indulgences, blessings, or lessons needed, she consecrates layered strata.

 

Her children don’t see the sacred strata of her nails. They only hope the nurse can cut through the yellowed bird-like nails on her feet, and dispose of them, not seeing what’s to be revered, what sacred lines she’s layered into mighty talons to claw her way towards death.

 

The nurse cuts away at the claws. Soon more ways will be found to intrude, though, she understands, it is done with good intentions. She rolls over and returns to her place under the tree, and in the culvert; the spaces she made holy. She will die and meet her maker or meet nothing and either/or is okay with her. She will die knowing she found sacredness the only way possible for her, not through the trust of others, but through her own self, soul, being, and let it be known, it is good, holy, revered, and right.

 

P.S.

This is what she meant to express:

This is judging. She’ll work on that or maybe she won’t.

The above was written because the woman has been thinking about the word sacred. But she realized part of what wanted to be expressed is how pissed off she is at men who attain power and dominate women (and children and other men), men who are priests, movie executives, politicians, mass shooters, bosses, the guy next door, a husband, a father.  She does not want or need any of you. Go away! She loves men (and women) who do not need to do these things. Men with insight and heart and confidence and kindness. She knows if women rise to power they will abuse it too, maybe in different ways, but still the chances are high. You asshole men know who you are and if you don’t, you’re even bigger assholes with no awareness of self or others, have you found nothing excluding money and power to venerate, revere, love? anything but yourselves? Stop it, just give up your power and money. What? You can’t? You are afraid of everything without it! Yes, you are. Crawl into your own vulnerable openings and eat shit.

 

 

 

Mary Strong Jackson

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Posted November 6, 2017 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

   Glory Be to Odd Ducks Who Have Lived Across My Streets and For All Us Odd Ducks Everywhere   Leave a comment

 

“We push the same earth ’round and ‘round trying to make a life,” said my neighbor who painted his gravel driveway like a highway – black base, white-striped edges, and yellow-center marks.

Were you crazy like everyone said, or did you want to trick a teenage boy into mistaking the driveway for the highway and catch him and his buddies who called your brilliant daughter cyclops because of her one drooping eye?

From my kitchen window, another neighbor in another city, flits across my yard making me believe in middle-aged fairies, so waiflike I wonder how she survives her mild-mannered-blank-as-a-slate man by day, alcoholic ogre by night who waits until neighbors sleep, then screams, “I AM JIM MORRISON” over and over. He does this 3 to 4 times a week. I tried turning lights on, stepping onto my porch, after weeks of this I yelled under a full moon, “SHUT UP”, then YOU ARE NOT JIM MORRISON, then OKAY, YOU ARE JIM MORRISON, NOW GO TO BED. Nothing stopped him until he was ready to retire in early morning. Police might come, talk to him, he’d go into the house, police leave, he’d return to his post and begin again.

The fairy picked lilacs from my yard to give me, and said with a sweetness only fairies must have, “He’s okay. He just drinks a little.”

She wished me well and worried over my move away. She tried to pay for my garage sale rugs held tight in her skinny arms. Her black fingernails dark against weaved beiges.

All us odd ducks walking around aware and unaware that our senses continue to touch as we push this ball of earth ‘round and round’ shoulder to shoulder even if we pretend we don’t see, smell, touch the one next to us or those across the tracks. Like Sisyphus the big ball keeps rolling back over us even as our anomalies slip up the rotation each time one stops to paint gravel, yell from a deep echoed well,  believe in rock-n-roll reincarnations, or any other out-of-aligned step.

What does a collection of odd ducks, flitting fairies, and all those Jim Morrison’s of the night do but cause a stutter in the earth’s roll, a break in time. This lapse from what some consider forward progress of the earth’s roll, this pause, offers others a time to touch, mend, apply the gauze, offer water, use our feelers, until on any given day, we might hear, “If I was any happier, I’d be dead!” Words of my next odd duck neighbor.

 

 

Posted September 24, 2017 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Elli Drops Thor to One Knee   Leave a comment

Elli drops by for tea in a tank top

bragging of dropping Thor to one knee

flexing her muscles as a threat

 

Crone stares into Elli’s rheumy eyes,

“Even gods are aging losers.

One might think you’d weary of winning

when each conquest requires owning

one’s own whys. It’s a sort

of sorrow of its own, winning is.”

 

Elli sneers

veins pop from her neck

down the back of her wiry hands

red lipstick bleeds into her wrinkled lip

 

Crone wraps her own strong arms

around Elli, “Lets embrace time

until we call the hour of our final bout.”

 

 

Mary Strong Jackson

Posted July 29, 2017 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

A Body From My Own Country   2 comments

my body has become a compatriot of mine

I am slim from love of it and cinnamon rolls

body and mind ache in ways known only to us

ache for past places and dead people

but are soothed by tiny leaves caught in the gutter

and a dog’s breath on our pant leg

 

my compatriot’s full on coupling

with my mind makes me marvel

at our conjoined responses

until we aren’t sure if the mind

stubs itself on sharp corners

and the body ponders ideas

or if it matters

 

as memory enters body and mind

both remember the joy of falling

the sorrow of endings

 

this day we have a new love

we allow the risk of the fall again

ignore old pains    past languages

press our skin against another

with fresh words never heard before

 

 

                                                Mary Strong Jackson

 

Posted March 24, 2017 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

From Other Tongues   Leave a comment

Just as her book, The Never-Ending Poem by the Poets of Everything, brings the freshest of approaches to a body of work, From Other Tongues is equally original and delightful. Mary Jackson’s language and imagination invite me into a mind well-traveled and I am an unabashed admirer.  I want to thank her for writing such a book, it will be coming on and off my shelf with frequency.

Joan Logghe

Santa Fe Poet Laureate Emerita

Mary Strong Jackson’s From Other Tongues is a book of poetry that makes us reconsider the most commonplace words, by making us more aware of the concepts we can’t easily express because their nuances are not easily rendered in the English language. It’s a book for word-lovers, and philosophers who have pondered how to say, or approximate the unsayable.

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

— poet and Writing Fellow at the Center for Community Change

Jackson writes poems that illuminate words seemingly untranslatable into English. In poems that are sometimes spare and yet enlightening, she plays with the idea that language may unite us human beings. In her poems, words and meaning are fluid and moving.  They will make you wonder; they will make you smile.

Karla Huston, Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2017-18, author of A Theory of Lipstick, Main Street Rag Publications.

Jackson_Mary_Strong_WEBSQUARE

Posted February 24, 2017 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Waves   4 comments

give me your huddled masses, tired and poor,

from under bridges, in soup kitchens,

in shelters, sleeping in cars,

give me the billionaires building

their excess like Easter Island chiefs

big, bigger, biggest

 

America the beautiful

I have a dream

 

68 year old veteran shot in his home

by police “I’m OK. I didn’t call you. Please leave me alone”

audio recorded by his medical alert gadget

police called him nigger before they killed him

 

Bobby Kennedy visited Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota

his plane landed in my town     closest airport to the rez

I touched his elbow over the chain link fence

Roger Mudd helped my cousin to her feet when the fence fell

 

Mom said    dirt    soft as powder

felt good under bare feet coming up between toes

congress knew of the man-made dust bowl

the deaths

but acted only after the black day

when dust blew across states

darkened the windows of the capital

as Hugh Bennett gave his plea

for the people from the plains                                                 24

at school we crouched, hid, feared the Russians

mom said their leaders lie to their people

 

Mom was 11 when Guthrie strummed his machine that kills fascists

singing    “This Land was Made for You and Me”

we sang it at the Assumption Academy

and sang “how many times must a white dove sail

before she can rest in the sand

yes’n how many times must the cannon balls fly

before they’re forever banned”?

 

just wanted a buzz bike like everyone else

Gulf of Tonkin-lie to invade Vietnam

flag-covered caskets on every night’s news

Weapons of Mass Destruction-lie to invade Iraq

no caskets on any news

 

Karla Faye Baker accepts Jesus into her heart

like George Bush who made June 10th  “Jesus Day” in Texas

where he put Karla to death

so as to give equal rights to women

 

a child waves to the soldier in Iraq

a text comes across from his Dad

“Patty has five new puppies”

the soldier smiles                                                                                             25

tips his combat helmet over his face

sobs

 

ring around the rosy, pocket full of posy

ashes to ashes we all fall down

 

Charlie Rose interviewed Steven Pinker

whose research says the world is less violent

masses of violent voyeurs

watch 24 hour news-entertainment

and elect Donald Trump

 

Mary Strong Jackson

Posted December 20, 2016 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Something Has To Die for Something Else to Live   3 comments

 

(1)

will it be the dream that dies

a dream so old it’s become the hardness of the bones

letting go          leaves a spot        a space

of heart-sized vast expanse      opened with goodbyes

 

so the next dreamer

of hummingbirds that cradle into an open spot

flash their necks at dawn

beat their wings in tranquil turbulence

can breathe ideas into bone

 

it’s about love not lack of

 

(2)

sunlit swallows catch drops of water tossed

into the air by a churning river

a river that gathers and carries

gives and takes

 

this is about light not lack of

 

something has to live

paint from the last painter’s brush

rhymes from another poet’s tongue

dreams from another dreamer’s life

 

from mountain snow

melting in sunlight

giving water to a river that gathers and carries

gathers what becomes

the hardness in the bone

 

carries dreams      that won’t die

Mary Strong Jackson

 

Posted November 10, 2016 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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