Between Elections   Leave a comment

 gather phonographs
 they will be small compared to skies and oceans
 but small things survive

 place the needle down on Muddy Waters
 and make whole bodies move like a big river
 play Lucinda Williams on the sun dropping side
 the Boss or Pavarotti on the north will wake bones
 Mills Brothers so old dead folks can roll
 in their graves with a smile

 lie on your stomach
 listen to the snaps of expectation

Posted August 8, 2016 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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Feeding the Twins

for Alex and Mya


their bodies barely longer than a good-sized fish

sit in high chairs where their fat feet

flutter below while plump palms

pat their trays to the tune

of “Caterpillar, Caterpillar, tickle, tickle on my arm”


I pinch a piece of buttery pumpernickel toast

top it with a tiny bit of egg   poke it in their open mouths

baby birds in high chairs

their mouths and my buttered  fingers meet

with a sense of each other        the way my grandmother’s


wrinkled cheek felt against my lips

their mouth-sounds ignite ancient instincts

to feed small ones   to feed each other

with our fingers to know the shape of another’s lips

the  inside of another’s mouth


no matter if a mother walked on all fours

no matter if the first lovers ate off flat stones

at some moment  they offered

nuts or marrow placed into the other’s mouth

with fingers slick on soft lips


Mary Strong Jackson

July 28, 2016






Posted August 4, 2016 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

As The Crow Flies   Leave a comment

Avoid clichés is good advice for writers, but I thought it would be fun to create a poem of only clichés. It was fun!

I’ll air my dirty laundry
On an abandoned ship
At the 11th hour
Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining
I’m armed to the teeth
And beautiful as the day is long

Bust your balls and burn your bridges
You still can’t build a better mousetrap
Boy Howdy
I’m back in the saddle again
I was caught off guard
Trying to catch a falling knife
That cuts to the quick
From those backhanded compliments
and bald-faced lies

But I’ve got it covered
Can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear
When you’ve got a thorn in your side
Just wanted someone to sweeten the pot
Sugarcoat something
Teach me to fish

So I got the raw end of the deal
Zigged when I should have zagged
Cried a river of crocodile tears

Now I’m burning the midnight oil
Life is a bowl of cherries
And the $64,000 question?

Your place or mine?

Mary Strong Jackson
January 2016

Posted February 1, 2016 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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Shelter Memory for N., B., and T.   Leave a comment

I wrote this poem after getting to know three brilliant men who were staying in the men’s shelter in Santa Fe, NM. Two were graduates of Ivy League schools, all were personable, well-traveled, articulate. Life happens in ways we never believe will happen to us, but it can and it does. It was winter time and the night temperatures were below freezing. The shelter was heated, but all the men had to leave by 6 am, and find a place to be for the day until they lined up at 6 pm for a meal, and, hopefully, a bed. The three talked of how disturbing it was to try and sleep with so many men coughing through the night. A sound, they all agreed, they would never forget.

Shelter Memory

they tell of the deep continuous
coughs that plague their nights
as if every shelter man’s

story rises from ribs to become
a sad song sung in rounds
not of rowing one’s own boat

nor that life is but a dream
but rounds of cough hack
cough and sputter

afflicted racks of ribs
torments of trying to hold
in machine gun bursts of pain

these men tell how this sound
on winter nights in the overfill shelter
leaves a sound hacked into the soul

grooved into the brain
where the sound settles

Posted December 23, 2015 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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What Preemie Twins Are Made Of   Leave a comment


his brown hair was woven
by a mama silkworm as she told
bedtime stories of little boys counting stars
and little girls talking to caterpillars

her reddish-blond fuzz comes from inside
the rose petal and the skin of a peach
rubbed together and smoothed across
her head and behind her ears

their skin was made of mother’s sighs
and father’s eyelashes mixed with clouds
raindrops and dropped feathers
of baby parakeets

noses come from the potter’s hands
while she thinks of whales’s backs
and ladybug curves and then imagines
every tiny nose ever made

snails and moon and waves
and curving sand shape tiny
ears until each one rolls
out unlike any other

a velvet bow? a dollop of cream?
these mouths - softer and more precious -
are placed on twin faces by kisses
from a fairy-god made of chiffon

the eyes come from shades of river rocks
light of sunflowers, darkest walnuts
carried by the blackest squirrels
under the bluest summer skies

their smallest cries make milk drip
coyotes’ howl and stars fall
from the sky in magic

Mary Strong Jackson for Alex and May
September 29, 2015

Posted October 8, 2015 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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Alice   2 comments

I’ve grown attached to my middle name
like waking one morning to love
limburger cheese no one else cares

but the way the name slides
soft as a dream out of slumber
the way if you called it
through the woods

it would slip over leaves
with nary a rustle “Oh, Alice”
and wouldn’t move the monkey hair
on a newborn’s back

a barely used name except by
twin Aunts, Leota and Leona, (Odie and Onie)
now it seems a shame to waste
to let it go uncalled upon

never to know if it’s a gifted urchin
or a lazy imp too late for a lot of things
too late to be an Alice now
what does one do with a keepsake moniker?

I once knew a boy                                                                                                                                                       named all his pets “Blackie Charming Billy”
tomorrow I’ll get a girl cat
because I’ve never had one
and call her Alice

Mary (Alice) Strong Jackson
July 2015

Posted August 30, 2015 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

Moving From Santa fe   Leave a comment

Moving From Santa Fe

there are those things that mean something

and all the odd shapes and shadows to pack away

luckily the 5-inch origami swan that came

with promises of luck fits in the double-boiler pan

in a box marked “kitchen”


what to bury in the yard, what to bury in a box

keep the dog’s ashes?  holding her beaded collar

brings back the reds and blues bright on her black fur

this move is a chasm, a crevice, a break

this time she goes alone without the man or the old dog


she packs two hearts, one glass, one with Frida Kahlo’s face

both breakable         puts the book of love poems by Pablo Neruda

beside the moon-gazing hares because the fit is right

it’s said Neruda never learned division

not good at splits and break-ups


she packs, runs the clear tape across the box, sighs

pulls black marker from pocket and  writes on the box

out-of-work swan, Tucker’s collar, crevices,  pots, pans,

Pablo poems, moonless hares, and bits of lonely


recipes for calabacitas and biscochitos go in a box

memories of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

pressed into box corners and coat pockets

another leaving with things that refuse the box –

goodbyes can’t be pushed inside


or the skipping raven carrying the red hanky

the same raven who caws good morning

from the cottonwood tree everyday


who will answer her tomorrow?


Mary Strong Jackson

July 12, 2015

Posted August 13, 2015 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Art, poetry

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