A Poem for Zaccheus Jackson & The Toronto Spoken Word Community

Source: FacebookThis is the piece I wrote to honour the late Zaccheus Jackson, who died in a tragic train accident two weeks ago. It was shared onstage at the Toronto Poetry Slam inside the Drake Underground on August 30, 2014. I post it here for posterity:

Worry Not, Waste Not by Ritallin

1.

If things go wrong, don’t go with them.
– Roger Babson

things have gone terribly, terribly wrong
one dude i know who’s all big lips and privilege
up and left and the only thing i can focus on
is the privilege i had to know him
to focus on that instead of the what ifs of a day
when we were supposed to be breaking bread
but instead he ends up dead
is too much pain for one man to bear
so i force myself into a mode of self-care
lain bare by the pain of tears that
force their way out tear ducts
and burn worse than acid on their way down
i ask you – where is the sense in all this?

2.

Worry is a misuse of imagination.
– Dan Zadra

Zaccheus Jackson would not abide my misuse
of my imagination at any moment of time
he had no worries when he introduced me
to his home, his cat and his hospitable heart
showed me nothing but love in the moments
we shared together and made me laugh along
with the unbridled joy he found in the universe
despite every tortured moment he ever experienced
he went through the very worst of the world
and came out smiling so who the hell am i
to carry baggage filled with spite, malice or vengeance
when he had no time for such things?

3.

People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross.
– Author Unknown

we can use gathered branches for bridges or burning
so who votes for bridge building
i’m tired of focusing on splinters
and would much rather forge connections
if one thing can be learned it’s that
our time for building bridges is borrowed
investments compound interest
which can work for us or against us
but it is only us who have the power to lay down
the sticks especially when we must stick together
so think about the ways in which you may be
cross and ask yourself if you like living there
or if you’d rather bundle yourself with those
who are like-minded as mutual support and
protection when a loved one goes out
in a glorious unexpected blaze

4.

I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. “Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.”
– E.B. White

i am here
in this space in front of all of you
sticks laid out and ignorant of splinters
because we need each other
my heart is broken and we have the chance
to allow our tears to put out the brushfires
reach out to each other and remove the splinters
mend broken bones from sticks and stones
become a rock of ages to each and every
other heart that pumps a little faster these days
because don’t you think that those small things
are a whole lot less important all of a sudden?
so plunge deep into our shared passion
that is so much more important as a force of unity
than any single splinter that sprouts a sliver of pain
can ever realistically do
to honour someone who placed community first
we must also put community first
to build a bridge more majestic than the Golden Gate
as monument to one beyond pearly gates
call me a wistful dreamer or a naïve speaker
but i still believe we are stronger than our weaknesses
here are my bundles of sticks, laid out before you
now let’s lay a new foundation and build
together.

© A. Gregory Frankson, 2014. All rights reserved.

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