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About this poet

Marcus Jackson is the author of Pardon My Heart, forthcoming in 2018 from TriQuarterly Books, and Neighborhood Register (CavanKerry Press, 2011). He teaches in the MFA program at Ohio State University and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Ode to Kool-Aid

You turn the kitchen
tap’s metallic stream
into tropical drink,
extra sugar whirlpooling
to the pitcher-bottom
like gypsum sand.
Purplesaurus Rex, Roarin’
Rock-A-Dile Red, Ice Blue
Island Twist, Sharkleberry Fin;
on our tongues, each version
keeps a section, like tiles
on the elemental table.
In ninth grade, Sandra
employed a jug of Black Cherry
to dye her straightened
bangs burgundy.
When toddlers swallow you,
their top lips mustache in color
as if they’ve kissed paint.
The trendy folks can savor
all that imported mango nectar
and health-market juice.
We need factory-crafted packets,
unpronounceable ingredients,
a logo cute enough to hug,
a drink unnaturally sweet
so that, on the porch,
as summer sun recedes,
Granddad takes out his teeth
to make more mouth to admit you.

Copyright © 2011 by Marcus Jackson. “Ode to Kool-Aid” originally appeared in Neighborhood Register (Cavankerry Press, 2011). Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by Marcus Jackson. “Ode to Kool-Aid” originally appeared in Neighborhood Register (Cavankerry Press, 2011). Used with permission of the author.

Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson is the author of Pardon My Heart, forthcoming in 2018 from TriQuarterly Books, and Neighborhood Register (CavanKerry Press, 2011). He teaches in the MFA program at Ohio State University and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

by this poet

poem

Summer has salted
our neighborhood to thirst;
tar that patches the wounds of roofs
heats to sluggish bubbles;
sun obligates
paint on car hoods to blotch.

Emphasized by the light
inside corner-store beer coolers,
your malt lusters.

You’re cold gold down throat.

poem

Of course there’s a certificate, bleeding
carbon at the creases and impressions,

detailing my metrics and lineage the night
I entered the earthly air in a new hospital

built by the intricate partnership between
Rust Belt governance, capitalism

and Christ, though I lie to people I