Archive for February 2011

The Injured All   Leave a comment

sometimes a person
words like such and whatnot
and such whatnotness
and hears real words like milk and wire

it’s all so bloody serious
this walking around with regular faces
looking uninjured
as we pass the salt, buy a beer, sell underwear,
teach names of persons, places, and things,
go to wars,
say I love you so
really, really, and such and so on etc.

Mary Strong Jackson
February 16, 2011


Funeral Photo   Leave a comment

three little girls
with chin-length 1930s haircuts
sit under a tree at a small table

their mama snapped this tea-party
most likely it was sweetness
not posterity on her mind

no doubt Amy got bossy seconds later
Ruth and Carol rolled their eyes
and turned to mud-pie tasks or baby dolls

I know their lives
if one can know another’s life
the good parts
the hard

put one foot in front of the other is what they did

the odd son
taunted at school until his mother
eyes crazed and hair loose
screamed-out     no words came
psychological break? – aka heartbreak

one foot in front of the other

one married in the priest’s house to a non-Catholic
in two weeks she knew He’s not who I thought
60 years later still married he does not attend
her dying hours    but wept at the table in their home
while he waited           till death do they part

one watched her husband die twenty years too soon

in their last breaths
did the sisters see their mama
snapping the photo
did they see each other at the tea-party table
where lilacs flavored their small cups

three little girls
with sister-haircuts
wearing cotton dresses made by mama

Mary Strong Jackson

Posted February 22, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Poetry of Mary Strong Jackson

The Never Ending Poem   Leave a comment

Here’s my answer to writer’s block. My never ending poem that can last the rest of my life if I want. Forever added to or being changed like Leaves of Grass. Not as good, but fun.

The Never Ending Poem
of The Poets of Everything

The poet of time
must waste it
a requirement of the job
to loll lounge languish
until the mind seeks images
of hide-and-go-seek playing
seven-year olds whose cheeks
smell of October at 5PM
or the feel of a pregnant cat’s belly
and the delicious time lost at Ralph’s Jumble Shop
where ten cents drove you crazy
with so many ways to spend it

The poet of bedclothes
uses cotton and down covers
and writes what heaven feels like in the blank stare of night
as icicles hang on eaves worried about tomorrow’s slips
all the while mocked by muffin-heads
with cozy grins and ruffled hair speaking night language poetry
about heaven being a warm bed

The poet of sex
puts his lips here and there
wraps limbs across limbs till the tangle
tingles all lines of communication
an ear here welcomes a tongue there
in efforts of ahhh almost alliteration
nibbles on a shoulder
the underarm’s dips and slopes shape under the palm
fingers finds spaces between toes
eyelashes flutter across a nipple
and the small of the back sighs

The poet of housewives
writes of the reach behind toilets
the swipe of rags
the shine on counter
the shine of apples in grandmother’s basket
the spin of kitchen dancing
cheek-to-cheek with baby one, two, and three
the corners and cracks of blackened casseroles
she knows the gods of the oven, vacuums,
and lawn mowers
she wanders outside
to the poet of thyme
whose hand is deep in loam
placing seeds in tiny wombs

they wait for the Poet of rain
to drip, slip, spit, pound,
hail, drizzle as Pollack-like painters do
to see the dampened wooden fence
take on new shades
and flower petals hold drops
for thirsty robins
after they’ve swallowed fat worms whole
who only came up to feel the rain
but isn’t that how it goes

Stay tuned for poets of worms and poets of coffee and poets of…

Posted February 19, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Poetry of Mary Strong Jackson

Run For Congo Women!   Leave a comment

Check out my daughter Katie’s website, and also the Run For Congo Women site for more information listed below.
The women and children of the Congo are being brutalized and raped everyday.  The stories are heartbreaking and terrifying. My daughter is running for women of the Congo.  Katie’s website :
Please pass this information on to all of your friends and family and encourage them to donate as well.  We can make a difference in the lives of these women!!!!!!!!!
You can also visit

Posted February 18, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Li-Young Lee   Leave a comment

Check out this excerpt from an interview with poet Li-Young Lee at


Since my father died, it seems that I see his entire life disclosed in a different way than I could before and with more clarity on the meaning of that life.

Lee: I had a teacher who early on tried to convince me that writing poems was akin to practicing meditation, or taking up a path like that. And I didn’t understand that, and he kept saying how language is a form of presence. And somehow language is infinitely referential. Which is exactly the opposite of certain schools of thought which say that language doesn’t refer to anything. So the practice of any linguistic art is basically the practice of a certain kind of presence—being present to language in a particular way. I didn’t quite understand it until after he died.

Chang: In “Black Petal,” you write of your brother’s absence, “He died too young to learn his name. / Now he answers to Vacant Boat, / Burning Wing, My Black Petal.” Do you think that absence has a presence, too?

Lee: I love that question. I’ve been thinking about something for a long time, and I keep noticing that most human speech—if not all human speech—is made with the outgoing breath. This is the strange thing about presence and absence. When we breath in, our bodies are filled with nutrients and nourishment. Our blood is filled with oxygen, our skin gets flush; our bones get harder—they get compacted. Our muscles get toned and we feel very present when we’re breathing in. The problem is, that when we’re breathing in, we can’t speak. So presence and silence have something to do with each other.

The minute we start breathing out, we can talk; speech is made with the outgoing, exhaled breath. The problem that is poses, though, is that as we exhale, nutrients are leaving our bodies; our bones get softer, our muscles get flaccid, our skin starts to loosen. You could think of that as the dying breath. So as we breath out, we have less and less presence.

When we make verbal meaning, we use the dying breath. In fact, the more I say, the more my meaning is disclosed. Meaning grows in opposite ratio to presence or vitality. That’s a weird thing. I don’t know why God made us that way.

It’s a kind of paradigm for life, right? As we die, the meaning of our life gets disclosed. Maybe the paradigm for living is encoded or embedded in speech itself, and every time we speak we’re enacting on a small-scale, microcosmic level the bigger scale of our lives. So that the less vitality we have, the more the meaning of our lives get disclosed.

Posted February 18, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

He Is Clean   Leave a comment

much can be said for being clean
for looking both ways before crossing the street
and keeping ice cream somewhere cold

here’s the thing she says
clean doesn’t get below the epidermis
where whatever wheels, grease, glue or lilacs make a mind
with all its passions
where a tiny completely formed woman resided in my head
and pentagraphed room-sized ideas
and lived with forceful frissons
tiny tornadoes really
that shook my being

he never noticed
he scrubbed good grease and grit
scrubbed the curious right off the cat

Posted February 10, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Ephemeral Intimacies   Leave a comment

can it be
there is a place          is it the soul?
to be touched
stirred as if with a spoon
that creates an eddy  that swirls open
the place where sorrow and love
like odd bedfellows
interchange parts yet always fit

a place one must pass through to arrive

“Sad, autumnal counterpoint of unacceptable cowardliness
conforming  once again imbecilic inanity of any rational justification.”

life without suffering equals abomination
so we swirl
lost in the eddy   catch our breath   just in time   many times



Quote is Marcell Duchamp’s wire to a friend whose wife had died.

Posted February 10, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Poetry of Mary Strong Jackson

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