Poems by James Croal Jackson

Pic by Suzy Hazelwood




God’s question
to the universe?


Final Cut

You’ve become a stuntman
boom camera car hurtling toward
(you try not to think about it–
getting older the pain locks
in the physical chambers of
heart) stress the sharp-
sound slate marking the timecode
of your life (even now is a milli-
second, no takebacks) which–
if you play in reverse triple-arrow
your regrets will manifest fast
but not fester, be unrecognizable
in tingle not sting. Your high-
pitched yammer will entwine in
the chorus of the universe,
the vines in the fresh-cut brush
patching up a shoveled hole,
small and manageable, and
maybe you’ll gain the courage
to press play on the present
without rushing forward,
breathing all the air,
engulfed in the tide to
make your shore home.


Victorian Village Visit

I forego clouds for the place where we
began, the reclaimed church a nostalgia
though we have never visited together,
our young energy coursing throughout
the space in natural light. I drove three
distracted hours to arrive somewhere
both haunted and exalting, half a mile
from the rickety structure we learned
ourselves in when we were different.
The constant cycles of change are
a daunting revelation. When you
watch the sky for a while,
the clouds you grow to love
are no longer where you want.



you say head spread

I say spread head

or was it hair spread

        you say you made up the word

        so it does not matter



Radio through closed
door static. Between
stations. My Jell-O
hands rest on brown
leather sofa. A couch
for the funeral home?
Everything has limited
time. I just can’t care
for furniture. The sound
of light welding from
the blacksmith outside.
A purple tree waves at me
from between two canopies.


About the Author

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. His latest chapbooks are A God You Believed In (Pinhole Poetry, 2023) and Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022). Recent poems are in Ghost City Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Pirene’s Fountain. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (jamescroaljackson.com)