The Creationists We placed a tall drought on the San Joaquin. Monitored it closely with birds eyes collected. Black Raven beads. Hermit Thrush pebbles. Turkey Vulture marbles and the beryl gems of Red Tails. Saw the Jack-Weed there and Saw- Grass spread like cotton spittle across a dry earthen tongue. Then retreat into itself. Into a powder that a breathy gust released into something without thought. Or space to be. An exact thought. An idea floating over a Paleocene landscape. Fossils beneath a sand colored sky. Dissipating and regenerating into means of industry and light. Decomposing into river beds of silt and stone. The places where Carver would dream of men drowning in their own brackish ponds. The places where women made homes for drowning men. And dreamed of the freedom of themselves drowning. This barren land, chalky with bone and shell. All exoskeleton and tide marks of a sea retreated but returning. This animal life. This hard window. We climbed back out of the brine and into Wattieza looking up in fear and hunger. For a wet heaven. For anything to answer to.
Cancel Culture Keep in mind that they have discredited the existence of dark stars and tornados. The migrations of various ground birds. Music in general. Cans of Spaghettios. The Appalachian trail and every single nudist colony on only the Baltic. Dogs are no longer allowed in the houses of the poor and plastic patio furniture can only be used inside. Crude oil is now available at all local supermarkets but Cornish game hens will no longer be sold due to environmental initiatives. The moon will now rise at 4pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and the coyote curfew will be implemented at those times as well. Weapons are mandatory in large arenas but must be holstered while eating nachos or hotdogs for obvious safety reasons. Meanwhile every hotdog eaten will take 36 minutes off of your life according to a study done by a neighbor’s grandfather. This kind of decadence will add up. Be prepared friends.
Stories They become less true every time you tell them. The Carrion Crow over east Kentucky. The Turtle Dove dead on the patio doormat. They make less sense and become the creation of the town the more you misremember them aloud. The slow car ride through the winding roads of the Mediterranean. The creaks and shifts. The sputtering uncertainty of every bend. The idea that this is all there is and one could dissipate at any moment as a thin Cirrus. Every time you tell them the eyes turn green or blue or grey. The long walk across the low bridge becomes shorter and shorter. The Willow becomes a Birch or an Oak or an Ash. Sometimes it is better to hold these things inside of you where they are safe from your malignant architecture. Let them fester or shrivel or grow to outrageous proportions of their own volition. Let them climb like Kudzu around your innards and organs. Feel them rise to your lungs and move on to your larynx and tongue and teeth. Let them try to pry your lips apart. That is the true test. That is when one must make the choice. To lock them up. To keep them safe. To keep them true.
The Influencer My audience is completely black hearted and humored and non-existent. Not even the white lies that I provide can substantiate this. I have a following of quail unquestionable. Their little feet and hearts race for me in my sleep. I build them hollow nests out of Plover-bone in the quagmire and kiss their tiny beaks just before the bloat of the levee’s belly bursts. The inner circle of my friend’s scerla is always bloodshot and the cornucopia of his eye is seasonless. I give him drops of tub water that my children have bathed in and tell him Drink it son, for the antibodies. All of my fans are Oriental and have peacocks painted on them. Covered in dust they are. In boxes in the cellar where the Redwood rot seeps in. I unfold them on occasion and feel the push and pull of heavy murk. Then I smell the smell of the Good Earth again. All of the stars gather for me in clusters and crustaceans. I turn my camera obscura away from their celestial sepia and back at myself. The Tarantula Nebula of my crow’s feet climbing outward. The brown thin remnant of a blood moon my mouth. Like the thumbnail of a farmworker. And in my eyes I notice constellations twisting like ventricles and aorta. Little hearts, I think. This must mean I am a star now too.
The Teacher Words like candlewax or homemade soap melt through her legs. Thick like rich milk or pancake batter. Sit still, she says. A chalkboard under a fluorescent glow hard on us and laminate. The world pulses and throbs under the pressure of being condensed into a plastic globe. Letters and numbers pour out of her blouse like fat butterflies screaming and we cannot hear them. We hear nothing but the sound of our own blood. She smells strange like copper. Like a mother we’ve never known. Lotion or blood or almonds still green. Yet to ripen. We are young and fearless and want to rip open our own skin. The world is huge and so goddamn small and we thought we wanted everything. She leans in with breath wet like a dream. Like an 80’s movie. Like a song we can’t yet sing. Now we know what we want and it is that simple. The woman bathing on the dock in the horror film. Just the chance to save her. Or at least die trying.
Ronald Jackson studied Creative Writing at Grossmont College of San Diego and Cal State University of Northridge. His poems have previously been published in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics and will also be included in the upcoming Issue No. 7 of Dum Dum Zine.