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Khary Jackson

Years: 2011



Khary is a performance poet, playwright, dancer and musician. A Detroit native, he currently resides in the Twin Cities where he serves as a teaching artist and writer. He has written 12 full length plays, one of which (Water) was produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago. He has been a recipient of several grants, including the 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the 2009 VERVE Grant, and the Many Voices Residency from the Playwrights' Center, in 2005-06 and 2007-08. As a performance poet, he has enjoyed great success in national competition, ranking nationally in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as winning the National Poetry Slam with the St Paul team in 2009 and 2010. But few of us really care about all that. He's a little weird, but rest assured, there's a method to the way he stares into your house.


Blue/GrassI am victim to banjo and fiddleturn that voice downstomps clapsuprootmy feet crying 1923these strings know me, take needle, unsewI'm face down in God's countryI'm swingingplayground of trunks and stumps,sweaty body in overalls,legs worn down by the dayI am victim to banjo and fiddle in hands with green stains for elbowsnails smelling of barnyard and miscarriageI am midnight runaways, alligator swampsgospel harmony, savior water dirtywelts on pregnant belly dear godI am a church shack with a choir of slavestake the sun back 'til I put my shirt onI'm tied up in Loretta's clotheslineI am victim of blues and bluegrassjailbird bootsobsessionI'm gap toothed floorboards shouting wild haired womanI'm wail of bended note, mercy in A-flat bleeding fingers for a tireless crowdI'm birds for shotguns, dirt for tiresold-time delusion, scarecrow's crossvictim of banjo and fiddlethey are burning the house down