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James Croal Jackson

3 Poems

Watching Trains Pass By

After Kevin Young

The only sound I hear

is horn.


The rumble of tracks

 after a pass

was forgetting last year


all the notes

I wrote

for my future homecoming.


The yawn of air

nearly put me to sleep–


now, endless days


my dreams.


Playerless piano.

Dust on the ivories

in cold sunlight.


My eyes a cacophony

 of trees not in tune.


Dreams, I dream of you.

In the footprints of morning dew.


Watching the good trains

 pass– Los Angeles

and Austin, Texas.


What’s the cost of being broke

when worn wheels thank me



for living in dirt


as envy, or the top


of the typewriter busted

 for telling the truth– green

as the money earned


to sacrifice art

 and then no more art.


A cracked snare.

The violin’s twisted neck.


My dreams hold onto me.

Forget sleeping.


The bleating of horns

 is my home.

Issue One

          August 2016

We Were Shadows

we walked in the shadows

of our shadows to blend

with other shadows


this rectangular geometry

took dominion

over winter


plunked lilies

into lakes

we never knew existed

Hollywood Hills

pluck stars from the heavens

twist a new celestial face


gods like the river no longer revered


oxygen the miracle

light the suffocation


rebirth me in ash

my fame was crucified


gnarled teeth stained

the slain valor of vodka


etch my name on sacred mountain


worship the white gradual chipping of paint

James Croal Jackson is a writer, filmmaker, and occasional musician from Akron, Ohio. He was living in Los Angeles when he rediscovered his love for poetry. His work has been published in Whale Road Review, Lines+Stars, Pouch, and other journals. He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. Find more of his work at jimjakk.com.