Special Needs

By MAJOR JACKSON
Only the skin runs ahead like a spruced-up
dream from which I never awake.
What really exists, no one knows.
In exchange for shook foil,
Hopkins killed the agnostic in him.
I want to kill the polygamist in me.
I am most me in an alley off Market Street
where I pretend to be homeless
and a friend to stray cats like Saint Francis.
My young cousins only want hard words
and money. If the economy sinks, they will
kill you quicker than a brainwave.
I want to give my sympathy to the last
evangelical. Here I am twirling my fork
aching to pierce some roasted strip of thought.
As long as the mind is blaring,
we avoid the straitjackets of conformity.
I am tired of the taste of my life.
I will not sleep for days, for
my egg had a seizure in the frying pan.
This morning, I rub my hands together
back and forth summoning the angels
away from the orthodoxy of facades.
I reach for the peppershaker
on my spice rack and recall all the pimps
of Chelsea and all the Johns on Wall Street.
I see joggers in the street and they remind me
of my most treasured liaisons.

 

Major Jackson is the author of three collections of poetry: Holding CompanyHoops, and Leaving Saturn, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award and has been horoed by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He serves as the poetry editor of the Harvard Review.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 02 here.]

Special Needs

Related Posts

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises

Ice fishing

June 2021 Poetry Feature

CORRIE WILLIAMSON
You lamented the absence of a human sound for longing, / like the loon has, like the wolf. I think of you reading / to your donkey the day he died, the passage where Odysseus / kisses the soil, how the beast moved away from you, / stood quietly in the clover, then returned...

Kentucky farmland

64-West & KY State Fair

D.S. WALDMAN
And how, / if we keep going, pushing ourselves farther / from ourselves, we’d see, eventually, the blankness / we were one day born into. / I forget what you / told me after—I think it had something to do / with loneliness.