back toJacket2

Jacket 21 — February 2003   |   # 21  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

John Wilkinson


— for John Wieners

Scoop their purse roll, bread pocket,
then be generous enough to fill, fair
set declined to invite on this ticket:

sufficient a terrace of houses, an isle,
to the mall adaptation in heels came,
tugging a bell-pull so it will work:

more true than crisis, middle-age said,
or than the counterfeit ex-nihilo:
Less pain in the tomb? Beneath lids?

Entice crumbled heels for its relief
maculation, quenchless light, fat-cat
store of their recompense withheld

Mass attention behind the legislature
tracks breadline stir devotional silk:
Here are the times you shall visit.

One scoop for the jar of snow, more
scoops for a society journal but o
lids, opening to assuage yet hunger.


How long ago, John, it was
in a shop long gone on Silver Street
I found your Selected Poems.
They led me to another Cambridge;
courteously attendant
you rummaged shelves, another
phantasm checks the books.
You returned the one call I made,
           return it still
decreeing the phone’s flourish
issues this command to a ballroom
on Times Square. Even
through my timidity, never
risked under a ladder  
dragged on stone on Beacon Hill,
trying the rungs to three went dizzy:
Behind my lids clings suspended
           one another.


Basement entrance, side door.
Fifth floor walk-up. Gas lamp.
Vague flavours drawn out to quarrel
with each other, the donnée too  
drifts no longer, asking
to be heard, grave & immediate.
           Glacier Noir.

How can any agree his desires.
From the idle crush a
balancing act, absurd & evocative,
           a looping rope of pearls
teeters & stumbles down to us to fix
laddering need –
Sheer imperfection
raised to the stars’ raillery

Torn it.

March 2002

Photo of John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson
Cambridge, England, October 2001

Photo copyright © Salt Publishing 2001, 2002

Jacket 21 — February 2003  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 material is copyright © John Wilkinson and Jacket magazine 2003
The URL address of this page is