Martin Jack

this town is wrong

in its slant way

streets speak bent


out of shape

a shorthand for crimes


and misdemeanors that only

discerners read, sensitive


to hotspots where the past

seeps through volcanic


written into the landscape

of names where evil grins


its face paint briefly

before melting in the light


Out of your Hand


mine is empty

cracked fingers stretch


out for promises

that overflow your wells,


named for posterity

when you chose deserts


in covenant, for dryness

to become laughter


and strongholds that grind

to become dust


you trample in victory

until I see and rejoice


over your welcoming shadow

all I need to drink



Martin Jack © 2009

A Front


garlands consecrated in terror


fashioned its godhead out of virtue


Robespierre's coronation at the Festival

of the Supreme Being


repeats itself with every new

salute from the tennis court


towards some fresh revolutionary flag,

its rouge bordering on misanthropy


as its stripes made themselves

a front felt on the back of history


engineering their lordship cult

through the ballot box


of mass graves, to the tune

of thunderous applause


The Lighthouse


set on a rock

Christ sweeps the bay

for lost ships draped in mist


our tears stained their deck

but his light called us homeward

warm arms flocking


around our wincing hulls

dry and brittle to the touch

airbrushed where the surgical cut was made


he broke the mist

clothed us in ribbon

the crimson of his righteousness


swinging from a lighthouse

at the right side of Father's

storehouse of grace


pulling us from the hull-crushing

rocks which drown men

in static


our fragile stations

gifted an economy ticket

to glory, which cost us less


than a dime but cost

him an empty patch of flesh

the nails anchored for our rescue



Martin Jack © 2009