:: Article

Three Poems

By Jack Henry.


past midnight –
a sky denied
vagrant moon –

he lights
a cigarette,
of orphaned whales
effortless glide
tall pine –

settler’s shacks
lay empty –
a well
in the backyard
holds dust
old bones –

the season lingers

in the midst
of autumnal change –
a transformation
of originality –

a coyote loiters at the end
of Sequoia Street
more afraid of light –
more fear
than a man standing
on a porch
would ever know
or acknowledge –

the moon,
in its mirthless meander,
wanders over
stilled tides
that mock the sand
of India’s
eastern shore –

Tomorrow After Today

he sits on a wobbled stool
indiscriminately alone
a thousand years etched
to his thick bronzed skin
a life
worth repeating

manners suggest a simple hello
but no one approaches

it happens

life rolls dice
out back
behind a nameless bar
and busboys
simple names

there is light in a graveyard
even on a starless night
a banker
out of work and fading
buys speed
from a lawyer
who knows better
doesn’t seem to mind

Sunday feels distant
when fog rises
from a boggy swamp
Muscovy ducks
coo from high perches
a letter
sits open
ink smeared
from drops
of water

one day
never feels
like the next

Beyond a Certain Familiarity

an old man walks
between the shadows
of his footfalls,
between the sound
of light overtaking dark
and the diminishing returns
of time

it is morning
the sun has risen
above and through
lingering clouds
of a sainted storm
trees that line the boulevard
sit still

the streets are empty

an old man moves
down the sidewalk
without direction or curiosity
without wonder or amazement
those thoughts
those realities
are gone

she died in the middle of the night
some time ago
how many months?
how many years?
she died for no reason
no purpose

just dead

without written notice
without doctors warning
without discretion

a small black bird with yellow eyes
ruffles its feathers
hip deep in a gutter puddle
and does not look up
when a shadow
passes by

a gardener mows perfect green grass
a police car slows
a traffic light changes from green to red
a dog barks

Jack Henry lives in SE California, in a high desert filled with flame and smoke, tweaker shacks and burnt out castles of savaged hope. He writes, he loiters, he makes a living off of misfortune and urgent depravity. In Autumn 2009 With The Patience of Monuments will be released by Neopoeisis Press followed by a new chapbook, Crunked (Epic Rites Press 2010), of which Tony O’Neill said: “the poems veer between being heartbreakingly sad and really, blackly funny. It’s really good stuff, very powerful…” Jack Henry edits Heroin Love Songs. Info for the delusional can be found here.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, September 11th, 2009.