Linda Lerner

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to

Men Called Jack--for Jack Micheline

poet on the front line
The eye is connected to
the heart"--Micheline
By Linda Lerner

across San Francisco/America
single room occupancy lives refusing to learn "the lord is my shepherd"/unable
escapees from the Bronx
without teeth failing eyesight
earth crusted nails
soap can't remove
proud of it dangerous men breathing poems....

isn't just words/eyes talk
way you move your hand
urn your head
gives a poet away..

men called Jack
nurturing more
than flesh and bone
flesh and bone of
what matters
child-eyes pushing 70 years
scrawled on brown bags/forgotten
yellowing pages stuffed
boxes scaling
peeling walls to some heaven
outlaws/madmen fighting
what straightjackets imagination
refusing to be herded
to green pastures
return its soul to America
and damned for it
men called Jack/colorists
painting red and
purple and green
murals on dullness
scaring the shit
out of
"lord is my shepherd"
Note: The original Jack poem "Men Called Jack" is in my collection, Takes Guts and Years Sometimes."

Linda Lerner's latest collection is Takes Guts & Years Sometimes (New York Quarterly Books, June, 2011). She’s previously published thirteen collections of poetry and been nominated twice for a pushcart prize. Her poems have recently appeared in New Verse News, Gutter Eloquence, The Brooklyn Voice, Danse Macabre, Two Bridges, was the featured poet in Presa, Fall 2011, Lummox, Home Planet News and forthcoming in The Mom Egg.