“Existential Ketchup” – Poetry by James Croal Jackson

Heinz Tomato Ketchup with fries, by theimpulsivebuy [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
“Existential Ketchup” is a savory & poignant poem of melancholy & fast food by James Croal Jackson from our Fall 2017 issue. (To hear a recording of James reading his poem, be sure to click play below…)

{ X }

GOT A HEINZ BOTTLE FULL OF REGRETS
but it’s dried up as the crust of red’s
lost its use   you try to squeeze something
from an old heart and look how flappily
it beats sags and wheezes   yet I got a cold bag
of wendy’s to share salted and soggy
on our porch in december rain   I said
to go to be tax-free   and carefree yes
but on the swinging bench white-bagged I see
your face in wendy’s and your eyes some
sad fake black   pocket’s full of lint and loose change
and can’t stop sliding my hands in to feel my legs
burning with desire to get up and build trash
cans from scrap at the edge of the yard
then wait for the passersby
to throw their guilty pleasures in

{ X }

JAMES CROAL JACKSON is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in The Bitter OleanderRust + Moth,Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantleand is a former winner of the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest. Find him in Columbus, Ohio and at jimjakk.com.

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