ZACHARY MICHAEL JACK                     

Shudders, Swoons

We watched until we couldn't
go out Jaws, The Birds something about
what could and couldn't happen.

Flesh and blood (mine . . . ours) mingled to form
a giant so large he would have difficulty
carrying his heart. Murmur . . . the traffic

between worlds, walls we learned
to listen to.
Had to!

Science you know . . . our favorite line
in The Mummy where the ambitious Frank Whemple
defends his attraction to the sacred dead:

But when we got the wrappings off,
and I saw her face . . . you think me silly,
but I sort of fell in love with her.

You say, breathless as the junior
Whemple wraps his tongue around the curse
for the umpteenth time, This is it.

We debrief, decide: what once we dismissed
as the grasshopper's alien knee bends,
its B-movie mechanizations,

we consider now,
rapt on the couch,
its next-to-passionate avowals.

We Are Always Running

into the stitch that kept
his Star Wars pillowcase together
the UFO souvenir he brought back
Seems we return
as if from a bypass dispossessed
of certain things our thought-
less bodies these
few pair of socks
Great pains must be taken in sorting
the mail hanging the laundry
my sick heart racing careful
at the clothesline of a tightening
a numbness spreading
a darkness shaken clean and held
at arm's length Strange
a pillowcase
a couple brought to its knees
Such small things
the wasps build under the neighbor's eves

God Loves You When You Dance
Country music great Billy Joe Shaver

I love it when you say thatís the way I done it
because you sell it, that line so pure
it makes me sick; makes me rattle

the chicken wire and knock up the jukebox.
Folks bought that shit,
didn't they, B.J., asked for it č

artlessness, backwoods pickin, the legend
of fingers lost to the sawmill. They
forgave your drugging,

drinking and whoring,
saved a part of themselves
for the cripple boy from Corsicana,

whose honky tonk mama made him
sing for his supper, who turned out
to be a genuine shitkicker and a good Christian soldier.

Goddamn you, how come your dirty
comes out pretty; how come your bad
comes out good; how come you didn't

end it all on that cliff over the Tennessee River?
Wasnít it a high enough altar? Wasnít your star
bright enough; wasnít it all you deserved?

To my way of thinking, Iíve lost a few key members
along the way, had to sing for my supper, had to
tag along beside mama, had to suck it up

you don't hear me singing about it.


I teach at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. My poems are forthcoming in Poetry Motel, Borderlands Texas Poetry Review and Miller's Pond. Individual poems of mine have received the Prentice Hall Poetry Prize, have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and have appeared recently in Third Coast, Hayden's Ferry, Louisville Review, Zone 3 and the New Orleans Review.