Broken Horizons by Richard Jackson

I've mentioned other books by Jackson here before.  He was my undergrad writing professor so I read his stuff often, and love it.  Broken Horizons launched a couple weeks ago and I couldn't wait to read it.  I was not disappointed.  I think this might be Jackson's best book to date.  His poetry has always been rich and associative, and rooted in gorgeous metaphors about horrific war scenes and loss and love.  These poems are shorter, and finer-focused than some of his previous work.  The book is in four sections.  Two of them stand out to me as particularly marvelous: his poems to friends lost (and the poetry world has lost a lot of friends in the last few years) and poems from Old Testament prophets to modern day people.  You'll love it!  Buy here.

 

From "Isaiah's Judgement"

What I spoke glowed like coals from my lips but you / saw only darkness. What I heard could send you back / to caves in the rocks. What I saw you would not believe. / Where is justice when you abandon the poor to shells / of buildings, the homeless to tents hidden in woods / by polluted streams and the tunnels beneath your cities?

 

From "Elijah's Warning"

. . . Listen, there are storms / that shred mountains. There are rocks that shake themselves / as the earth splits. There are my words that you burned / to ashes now floating aimlessly. No one wanted to listen. / How easy it is to hope the clouds wash away the sky's light. / We have become so inventive in our cruelties--as today / a flash of shrapnel flies through a hospital ward, someone / drives a car into a crowd, a ISIS sniper welcomes the challenge / of a child's small head, another child is hollowed out by / a gang bullet from beyond her bedroom wall. No one wants / to listen. Ages ago I told the king what would happen. / Now, I'm telling you: 

 

From "String Theory"

Every moment strays into another history. / In this way, too, the heart echoes / its own forgotten stories, as this evening, what prompted / all this--the fading, high pitched scream of / the rabbit some coyote had carried away, / the sound knifing its way through these memories, / through the tendons of lost words that showed / a way to love, finally, this flawed world.