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James Croal Jackson






a buzz of speed

& basement grease slick


the party lights, I never graduated bumper

bowling, holy Z of physics, clunky


mechanics of moving the body

any which direction, forward


time decrees, manifestation my

brother’s swollen feet, wheels


in motion sugaring me

circles circles circles




a line, (a short blue one)





under awning

a body’s



the form


will frame

this blueprint  


on gravel

with steel 


this safe

cannot break




a line, (a short blue one)



Condado Beach / Condado Tacos


Your sister gets engaged at Condado Beach.

You and I– when it happens– are in the middle

of another meal, paper boats of combo soft/hard-

shell concoctions at Condado Tacos, and when she calls

us later, at The Abbey, we joke I should have proposed

before Mark did tonight, when I stuffed-mouth called it!

that they would get engaged in Puerto Rico, that I should

have wrapped your ring finger in tortilla and professed

my love, of course, in a dramatic drunken offering at the

corner of a bar, of which we have done a thousand times,

but not here, to do it first, with nostalgia borne from

our presence at a small chain founded in the city

our story began. But when we lived in Columbus

we were lukewarm upon Condado’s now-sacred

offerings until it felt like homesickness brought

deus ex machina and a Condado was constructed

a couple blocks away in Lawrenceville. There,

our lust for long-ago brought us back and again.

We feasted through soft and lean times and almost

threw white flags of surrender at each other. This  

time, at the bottom of our split-check receipts, we

saw an opportunity to join their rewards program.

This is how we sign our own lifetime commitment.




a line, (a short blue one)



June 22, 2019 – Morning


If there is no coffee

in any of these storefronts–

if I walk up another hill–


scattered branches, lily weeds

protruding from the pavement,

roses bending out of vases–


take me into the tree-

speckled shadows

before I rest there now.




a line, (a short blue one)



Someday I’ll Enter the Kingdom



of I-don’t-regret-this

and for now my crown is

in my mouth. my temporary


house from bricks

heavy hands worn

from endless insistence


of perfectionism

in a mirrorless era

of self self self self self


upon which I am guilty

indulging in that grease




a line, (a blue one)


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