Archive for the Jack Henry Category

Four Poems by Jack Henry

Posted in Jack Henry, Uncategorized with tags on August 26, 2019 by Scot

setting free
1.
when my ex died unexpectedly
alone in an apartment she
could not afford;
in a city where conformity
ruled & no one dare stray
from the dotted line;
in a state of financial ruin
brought on by a cancer she
blamed on me;
i thought that day, that moment
i would return to sanity;

but i was wrong –

2.
her ghost haunts me,
still
& i know i should let it
go, but this ghost is real;

she follows me around,
lets me know she is watching;
in all honest i have grown
used to it –

3.
her ashes sit on a shelf of
tchotchkes, at the top
next to smaller cedar boxes
of dead dogs;

her box is colorful, secured by
a small diary lock, the kind
you could crush with your
fingertips;

she left no instructions on a proper
burial and my daughter didn’t know
what to do, so she sits on a top shelf;

watching –

4.
it’s cold
at the top of Mount Baldy;
a few people gather
in clusters of twos and threes;
i came with my ghost
and a backpack holding
a gray paper box
filled with ashes;

i started at 4am,
made good time,
hit the summit in 5 hours,
a record, for me;

at the far edge of the rounded
peak i reach into
my backpack and pull out
the gray paper box,
set it down on behind a large
stone, used as a wind break;

the sun slowly arches across
a bright, blue sky; it is a perfect
day; i remove the lid, pull out
a bag of gray ash;
it is heavy, nearly three pounds,
all that remains;

i kept tablespoon of ash, put it in
a beautiful crystal jar, placed it back on
the shelf, for my daughter, for the
day she wants to remember;

but on the mountain i let it fly,
emptied the bag into the wind,
a temporary cloud rising and
falling on the breath of god;

a ranger approached, but i caught
him in the corner of my eye,
i had a permit, she would have liked
that, being prepared for a change –

____________

 

excuses

the ringing
in my
ears
never leaves
just as
the icy hand
of
my past
never lets
go of
my
throat –

words,
long forgotten,
drift
back
to the shores
of my solitude,
whip-cracking
my skin,
fresh wounds
from which
to draw –

i do
not recognize
who this
person was
nor the
words
written
on stolen
paper &
the backs
of bar top
napkins –

ten years gone
not a word
to sell or
show,
i lay
down my
sword,
surrender,
i know
not
from where i
come –

nor where i
shall
go –

____________

timeless

she sits
on a park
bench
tears stream
from her
eyes
she dabs
them away
with a worn
handkerchief
given to her
years ago
by a man
she
barely knew

every night
in the kitchen sink
she washes the
handkerchief
let’s it dry
on the countertop
and
every morning
she folds the
handkerchief
places it in
her pocketbook

some days she
wanders out
onto the streets
and sidewalks
of los angeles
stares up at the
skyscrapers
wanders out
past the old
bars
and shuttered
retail stores
past the
angry young men
propped
against
concrete walls, the
ones littered
with flyers and
poster board
advertisements
eventually she
finds herself
on a park bench
in Pershing Square
alone
watching
the city change
morph
evolve

she knows
no one
other than
doctors
nurses
and pharmacists
her neighbors
speak in a
language
she does not
understand
her children
have forgotten
everything

some days
she cries
pulls the
handkerchief
from her
pocketbook
dabs at her
eyes
dries her
tears

that day
a man walks up
nearly as old
as she
offers her a
handkerchief
one very like
the one hidden
in her pocketbook
he is gray and
old
riddled with age

she smiles
as he sits next to her

____________

 

eventually

memory fails
when i try to remember
our first embrace –
a strange two weeks
rolling across a jungle –

you filled gray folds
of my mottled brain
with something more
than a quick hello, goodbye,
yeah,
you were okay –

little things cling to a here and now tap dance –
cheap perfume –
a femme fatales eyelashes –
an innocent touch –
tears formed from a dream you could not share –

and when you left,
when you finally left,
a note remains –
a sort of explanation,
a sort of apology,
but you need not worry –

everyone leaves

eventually –

perfect earth… Jack Henry

Posted in Jack Henry with tags on May 8, 2009 by Scot

jack-henry

she said, good girls don’t do that
and i smiled, but you are not a good girl, in that sense
there is that, she said
crowded streets swallow us
i can barely breath
wet heat lays atop my skin
bruising my ambition but not my need
nothing seems to touch, especially the sky

i don’t know if we should, she said
but we’ve already done it twice, i said
i want to
i know…

we met the night before, by accident it would seem
my host abandoned me for an 18 year old cigarette girl
with Bambi eyes and shiny teeth
alone from my corner i watched boxers and dancers
move with equal precision

her skin is the color of perfect earth
rich and full, eager to blossom, to stretch, to yearn
eyes that watch my every step, knowing the
conclusion before i begin

i pull her into a doorway and kiss her
we don’t do that here, she said
of course you do, i’m not naïve, i said

my hands move down her back, never
leaving smooth skin, her flesh cool
against a rising sun
this isn’t love, she said, it’s just the moment
let’s not waste it, i said

the television plays in the background as unwashed children
play in dirty streets, the sounds of electric rickshaws and
motorbikes cough up through my window – a ceiling fan
complains every fifth turn – an elegant sky turns vermilion –
there are oranges in a bowl on a table near a train station –
nothing but static on a fifty year old radio –
i am languid in a pool of sheets – a soft breeze drifts across
the Ganges – she left a note sprayed in delicate perfection,
i leave it sealed and settled and head for the door