Wolves by James Croal Jackson


(originally published in Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Summer 2017)

The Garbage Disposal

still buzzes but won’t grind
or drain despite our care.
We have exhausted ourselves
doing what we can– futile breaker
flipping and extracting the rot
from its murky-watered past.
O Landlord, faraway California
God of Condescension,
give us guidance or an angel
of plumbing! Repair blade
with your word or void
ways we toss our scraps.
Where, now, will our food go?
The universe is a pipe
organ black hole we can’t
explain so flashlight pointed up
we sprain muscles turning
allen wrench into the compact
under-sink cabinet hell of unused
Kroger bags and soap and roach
killer straining out
from this situation
worth we will not


(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2017)

Kurt Says There Is No Such Thing as Information Loss

You can recover anything. If you can’t,
you will. What you seek exists
but has left for the black hole of knowledge
steady at the center of the galaxy.
You will become a different person,
renovate the house but keep the windows.
You will find a new lover but process
bits of data still there– the comparisons
and air hurtle toward end-time, the end
line unquantifiable by any metrics of the heart,
of time complete and incomplete starts.
There is a long black hair lodged in your beard
from a lover though the body has moved on.
You forget the names of things you know
but know what they are, how you can have mind
without soul but no soul without mind.
You can live a new life
without losing the old.


(originally published in the hour after happy hour, Fall 2017; also published in The Cadaverine Magazine)


the muffled songs
made me wonder
who played violin
on the other side

who cradled the bowstring
whose long haunting moans
whispered my name
in its dried throat
beyond the wooden wall
who itself whispered
its own ghosts
its dead fingerprints

are clamoring
to live again


(originally published in The Bond Street Review, Summer 2017)