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Poet of the Week: Gary Jackson

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Elegy that was already done before

I’m trying to teach these kids about elegy when one of them asks how do you grieve? Everyone answers: crying, screaming in the crook of your elbow, trying to muffle your soul when all you doing is making it harder for the dead to hear what you have to say. Only one student says drink. I put one toe in and ask what? He says Jack Daniels b/c I don’t have to think and now I’m thinking about ghosts again. Last month I talked to your mother on the phone. My mother wanted to show her my book but ain’t that like rubbing it in someone’s face that one of us is gone and the other got famous for it? Yet here we are – you still dead, and I’m a fool to think the last poem was the last one I’d write about you. At parties, people who don’t know that too much ash sours the soil ask about you. I bury two fingers in my temple – one fingernail buried under skin, the other not far behind. Everything is about loss. About stories, about superheroes, about trying to show these motherfucking students what an elegy is really about. It’s about the student who asked who’s your favorite superhero? and I said Spider-Man when I should have said you.

Gary Jackson’s Poets Tour Profile