On Jack's Planet

Everything was in order.
Temperatures recorded in diary of
Every day’s life, sentences uttered
In blankness of white page
Passions played in scrutiny of detail
Pictures placed with certain emphasis
Moments not to be lost in mind.
Even the Christmas tree year after year
Stored completely decorated in a closet
Each ornament hanging in its place
Strictly maintained, not to be disturbed
By the random chaos of a disjointed world
The arbitrary chance that makes living
So difficult.

Coming as he did from an unruly upbringing
Cold martinet father, dotty lesbian mother
Who left (little Jack) to hack a path to freedom
Half-brothers, foster mothers, back and forth
Without a home, no wonder the need
To right the haphazard fall of
Obstinate blocks.

The alcohol slipped so easily through the bars
A parched throat gasping, the anesthetic coat
So soothing to the chill in his breast, the drums in his head
Saxophones jazzing through the dark pull of night
Yearning for release in notes of
Pure unfettered music, tamed in sameness
Doing what people do in order to survive.

His wife, his children, perhaps
Could never understand, too close
To see the sanity of his madness
The way the holding of opposites together
In perfect alignment with fixed patterns
Made a kind of grounding gravity
Alien to the visitor, but completely logical

On Jack’s Planet.

(Previously published in MiPo Magazine, Winter 2004)

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