July 3-9, 2017: Poetry from James Croal Jackson and Clay Carpenter

​James Croal Jackson and Clay Carpenter

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​James Croal Jackson

Bio (auto)

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. He has won the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest and has been a finalist for the Princemere Poetry Prize. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​James Croal Jackson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Tiger Balm

Nice to pretend
there’s a thing all-healing.
It’s early spring and we both
ache– my mouth, your stomach.
Searching for remedy we lay
leglocked in bed to distract
ourselves with affection
but smell of Tiger Balm.
You like its touch, I like
the texture– the initial
dipping into hope that
maybe we’ll find relief
in the burn it leaves
in the air, or in my hand
on your stomach,
then in your hand.


Shifting Junes

I have convinced myself
all birds fly as soon as they see sky

I know each wing on each one
is different

Grounded I tend to speak aluminum
from the grand piano of my throat

It is a sunny thirty

The sun beams over a painting
of a palm supporting an oak

Believe me I want my tongue
to bloom good petals

I cannot get enough of being

Imagine a single light
at the far end of a cave

so faint you must remember
you’re awake

Blow the dust
from the ivories

Play flat notes detuned
through my lips




Clay Carpenter

Bio (auto)

I’m a newspaper editor in Corpus Christi, Texas. I like to write poetry in my free time.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Clay Carpenter and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

These Neighbors

These neighbors you never
talk to are out working in the
yard. You remember a conversation
three, four years ago. He
said they might move one day,
pack it up, back to Houston,
when their daughter graduates
high school. It seems

strange, imagining the
neighborhood without them,
the white minivan in the
driveway across the street.
They lived there when you
moved in, 16, 17 years ago.
Your kids played together
when they were small, until

they decided they didn’t like
each other. But the adults
always got along. Still, you’ve
never talked with them
as much as you should, never

made good on the occasional
overtures of friendship. A
flimsy attempt every
few years, a dinner that was
perfectly fine, then months of
hardly a word. But when they

move out — you feel it now like a
a hip that suddenly has gone
arthritic — a chasm will open
and something will die, a
piece of your life gone with these
neighbors you never talk to.


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