Archive for August 2013

Lucky Dogs   Leave a comment

I’m a dog
deciding where to lie
decades going ‘round and ‘round

I’m not always circling
there were pups to nurse
time spent licking wounds
the snatching of meat
some baring of teeth
always the sniffing
the earning my keep every dog day morning and afternoon

a sparrow cleans the ground below me
I hardly see the crumbs that fill her tiny belly
a man walks by with a crippled boy
they lean into each other
their odd steps match coffee house music
we are all here circling
on packed ground

a man taps my chair with his cane

“Wake up,” says the bushy browed walrus.

I’m 89” he says.
“What have I got to do but chase broads or wait to die.
It’s not bad. Everyone I know is dead. No, not true, I have two classmates
still kicking. We got Ph.ds in the ‘40s.”

I do the math. I may have 33 more years
to keep circling

” lucky dog” I scratch on the tabletop

top 5 regrets of the dying slip

from my social worker notebook

“I wish I had allowed myself to be happier”
“I wish I’d led a life true to myself”

          I want to step in paint and dance in circles on white paper

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”

the walrus tips his cane, says he’s got
two ex-wives waiting in the coffee shop
he exits singing,
“I’ve got hot-rod Ford and a two-dollar bill
I know a place right over the hill…

Mary Strong Jackson

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Posted August 8, 2013 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

What You Don’t Get   Leave a comment

the creamy caramel colored
French chair and ottoman
that exhaled when you sat in it
like it needed you to breathe
held you like a baby cloud
with nimbus arms
and cumulus lap
you nearly cried from the comfort
a second-hand steal
that cost too much

the dress with the red elephants
green vines, yellow flowers, and black stripes
with a slit up one leg and fringe where it counts
oh baby, the dress that got away
perfect for dancing on the plaza
and singing “I’m may be crazy”

that bike your cousin said
was coming on your 11th birthday
when you got the croquet set

a chick dyed pink for Easter
you walked in morning cold
to the feed store hoping
new food would save it
saw your friend’s bird weeks later
a live bird
it had outgrown its color
just blue tips at the end of white feathers
that’s when you knew security
is an illusion maybe it was later
but that was the spark
the beginning of knowing
that you don’t get some things
others get away
some you lose

Mary Strong Jackson

Posted August 8, 2013 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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She Leaves Him with Clean Underwear   1 comment

not long before she died
she sent me to K-Mart
with money in my pocket
to buy dad white handkerchiefs and underwear

I returned with the goods
placed them on the round wooden kitchen table
grooved with beauty marks and worn edges

“Now you’re set from top to bottom” she said to him
her face that day
set in my selective memory
forever
even upon the arrival of a time
when I’ll forget most everything

her grin
childlike
the skin around her smiling eyes
wrinkled

from the mirror today
she smiled at me from my face
is this reincarnation?

like my father’s voice coming through
the telephone spoken by my brothers
the surprise lasts a second or two

when I glimpse her face in mine
she tells me it’s okay
to grow old
to forgive those who hurt you
buy them something clean and new
to last until they’re gone

until a voice on the phone
or a look reminds you
they remain

Mary Strong Jackson
August 4, 2013

Posted August 8, 2013 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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