back toJacket2

This is JACKET # 14 - July 2001   |   # 14  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with SALT magazine

Susan Wheeler


In any structure, you can obtain cable service,
you can connect a flat-screen television, you
can watch the Yankees and the Mariners as
prelude to a subway series. You can remove
a bottle of beer from a refrigerator. You can
make a bed. The structure is arbitrary, it comes
with a salary, the eaves peaked or the roof shovel —
ready in the snow season, the gutters full of twigs
or covered with small runners, caps really,
to protect the runnels, the water chutes, something
not invented by Disney but American nonetheless,
uncoppered in the tenting of our depots, where
you can stare from a kitchen window at a dog
devouring a flea and then shitting on your lawn.

Into this, stride loved ones not unforgotten
in the mix of peat moss and cereal, fenders,
and the rhetorical hum of the baseboard heat,
and you can hear them calling you from the front
room to come quickly, see the skunk in the road,
and you can ignore them. Other prerogatives
of a paycheck include sleeping in on a Sunday.
You can also — and here we come back to the
refrigerator again — pillage supplies for a snack.
Above, in the beat of the sky, Vanna on the
Hollywood Squares stares back. Bumps on the
bark of the maple concern you by and by.

Into this you can introduce debt. Dots on the
screen can feather all your expectations
for rodeos and whatnot, the structure arbitrary,
a composite cribbed from vagaries such as
typically visit upon our scenes. The grass
growing drier in the drama of accounting. Punks
you believe the neighbors’ kids to be come
to your door. Harry meets Sally again and again.
Braked or full speed it is a kind of locking.
But when you deploy your own self and those
selves of your loved ones with out, out,
red birds on soft slate can menace, too.

On the lawn, on the tarmac, beneath a bridge,
you can run the wires off of errant lines, you
can choose the indictment that is Seinfeld, a
car, or spittle the screen with vituper.
A flatness results, be it American or Mills,
General Mills, General Foods, elves and
Jemimahs and so forth, on to Jeannies and
Samanthas and O — O that you not be left so
alone when the power line fails!  Buck up and
tell it, buck up and tell them, the sores on your
hide hide nothing, the stenciling on the door
does nothing — you can walk, you can wake
by the side of the road, a friend to critters, and man.

J A C K E T # 14   and   S A L T # 13   Contents page
Select other issues of the magazine from the | Jacket catalog | read about Jacket |
Other links: | top | homepage | bookstores | literary links | internet design |
Copyright Notice: Please respect the fact that this material is copyright. It is made available here without charge for personal use only. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced, or used for any other purpose

This issue of Jacket is a co-production with SALT magazine,
an international journal of poetry and poetics, edited by John Kinsella
PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge PDO, CB1 5JX United Kingdom

This material is copyright © Susan Wheeler
and Jacket magazine and SALT magazine 2001
The URL address of this page is