Jackie Clark

Be Obvious

your distractions
are evolved tiny voices
and you have fed
and you have ate
You have railed against
your woman
If it's a fat girl
or a skinny girl
We have boundaries
for what we will put inside
Your distraction
clinks in monotone
It takes no effort
It is more effort
to restrain yourself
to find songs that sound
like they are meant
like they have a feeling
that cannot be avoided
because everything
else can be avoided
unless you have
some sort of profound
amnesia and your days
are five minute intervals
of newness and drawing
a note wouldn’t even
leave any lineage
The world wouldn’t give
any place to the body
the body absent
of dependent meaning
it would all be
meaning all the time
a rainshower
or cosmic slipstream
relentless and encompassing
Maybe the radiating meaning
is more natural
to the simultaneity
of our conscious mind
following the literal wheelbarrow
the construction men
who wheel out dirt
a job of moving mass
from one area to another
to relieve itself
of its burden


Out here in the middle of the country
Dead armadillos pepper the highways
Star Talk fills the car
Dark Matter and Robots
Though the weathers are a more immediate concern
Mercy Hospital with a flashing neon sign as if it were a nightclub or a shitty nail salon
When the sun widens it draws out the green below
It watches in this landscape and the next
A sentimental rendering
A strip club called Tangos
An elevated rusted truck with an American flag
Planned communities with names that nod to regional "history"
In the name of
For the sake of
Whispering Meadows
Roaring Rivers
Indian Hills
A “real” western store in the parking lot of the local Phillips 66
A vision of Jesus with light rays coming out from his arms on the radio
Birds of prey circling in the distance
The clouds a sort of alchemy, existing in tandem
A fixed notation as cars travel on below
Politics of the sky above
Space activists planning cooperative explorations
The business of exploration a shifting plurality
Here on land it is an additional expense
Both financial and not
The sun at this time of day clears the landscape
Only a short walk to the mailbox feels bearable
The corn still stands alert only slightly browned on the bottom
A good feed
A good year
But a surplus is just luck
Considering the odds
The rains, the lack, the tornado that took a turn east instead of west
The muscles atrophied in a once healthy body
Its head and neck unable to ever support itself again

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Jackie Clark is the author of Aphoria (Brooklyn Arts Press) and the chapbooks Office Work (Greying Ghost), I Live Here Now (Lame House Press), Sympathetic Nervous System (Bloof Books), and most recently Depression Parts (dancing girl press). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Elephants, The Brooklyn Rail, and the anthology Ritual and Capital, co-published by Wendy's Subway and Bard Graduate Center. She works at Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts at The New School and teaches writing in New Jersey. She can be found online at nohelpforthat.com.