R E U B E N  J A C K S O N

3  poems

Reflection No. 9

Never once had I seen a poet

In dull brown orthopedic shoes.

Thick, nerdy glasses, yes.


The stoop I nursed was my

Mending Wall—


A semi-respite from the neighborhood's rage.


Who knew that beneath my guarded gaze,

I was rifling through my head

For words I'd use to praise Mountains?

Subway Platform Poem No. 5


A red windblown leaf

Nestles

In a sister's dreadlocks.

Promises, Promises

The next woman

Who calls me

Reub

Might be

Asked to chip in

on a bottle of

Anti-swoon

Medication,

Or she might

Receive a poem written

after I asked

The evening sky

For a phrase

rhyming with

sleepless nights


In which an aging

brother's heart

Shrugs its shoulders

And begins

The terrifying journey

To blossom.

 

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Reuben Jackson is the Archivist with The University of The District Of Columbia’s Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives. From 1989 until 2009, he was Archivist and Curator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Duke Ellington Collection. He was also host of Friday Night Jazz on Vermont Public Radio from 2012 until April 2018. His poems have been published in over 40 anthologies. His first book of poems , fingering the keys, won the 1991 Columbia Book Award. His most recent book, published in October 2019, is entitled Scattered Clouds.