the prosthetic miracles of st. roch and other works by R. Moose Jackson        


R. Moose Jackson is a savage poet of the nation's underbelly. Nursed on mythology and deep ecology, he struggles to build a lyrical bridge between the archetypes of the wild and the stoic mysticism of the working class. He performs with a rebel poetry band and risks his life daily on the streets of New Orleans,


the prosthetic miracles of st. roch

the prosthetic miracles of st. roch
we went to st. roch's to read the bones
and ask questions that almanacs had no answers to
with the gates open
you could finally stand in the place of the dead
and appreciate the unsugared finery
of a barbaric centurion

an older, wiser altar boy
was given to us as a guide
his fingerprints worn smooth
by soft red bricks

not the usual sort of guide
pontificating facts and figures
pimping legends…
he just left us alone
            and caressed the stones

they say dead men tell no tales
but you know in new orleans that ain't true
all they do is chatter
sun up to sun down
and if anybody comes to sit with 'em
they get an earful

and the only problem i have with the dead
is that they're a little obsessed with the past
(overhearing their talk of storms, i figured
they were ranting about katrina, but they
were still on about betsy)
and it is a very circuitous path
getting around to the subject of future

        but they do know
        reminds the altar boy
        in their scatterbrained way

they keep the prosthetics there as encouragement;
        your miracle is due

so if you go there
carry patience in your heart
remember that time is different
when you're stacked six generations deep

and pay regards to the gatekeeper


shawnda's come to stay

shawnda's come to stay
in my bed an hour
a night, a couple
of erratic days
black-haired as always
with swirling clouds of tribal static
still sharp and lean; a dark
greyhound journey woman
shaking off the icy grip
of montréal and her
black metal nights

rage against obscurity
roar against our brevity
seed your skin with inky stars
and the gifts of siddhartha's first murder

or just sit a spell
while the moon eclipses herself
and sing the river songs, let
death rest his busy head
in your bony lap

and maybe your heart will heal
strengthen, soften
and maybe we'll know ourselves
and maybe the gods will walk again
in the allegory of our cave

so brief a time
we escape from the ground
we have for this moment
each other
a bed
let us steal a cup
from the eternal wellspring
and hoodwink for a moment
the ferryman, knave
before our hearts are weighed
'gainst the dread feather as if
we walked and prayed straight
past the gallows
through the pillars of our belief
weathered our storms
and drank our dose of salt water
before the ancient scribe

ever questing avatars
have a place amongst the mysteries
and if a baboon with the crescent moon
should answer with a howl
stop not thy ears.
gods speak thus

there must be reason
for all this blood, this bickering
the fucking, drunken scrawl
our eternal scratching, our fears
and forests of concrete and static
the god-damned

electricity pouring out of us
down the branching paths
like roots twining our
destinies and desires
through the future and past

o it all goes so fast
and none of it will last
not set in stone
so christ, shawnda
let's not be alone
right now for soon
they will lay us down to sleep
all our secrets to keep
in separate graves
and private tombs

shawnda come and stay
in my bed an hour
a night
a couple of days

wind that black hair
over my eyes
make me blind, blot
out the sun
and its whole stupid race