Cedars-Sinai, Harpist – James Croal Jackson

Here’s two more from James:



Vital signs at zero, a squiggly line gone infinity–

guess what I’ve prepared for. An eternity of this

nothingness. I tossed the phone like a grappling

hook at your distance and it caught. You left it

hanging on the bricks, though, and moved to

California, where I used to sleep the streets in

my Ford Fiesta, the same car we drove to Melt:

a time bomb heart attack. How close we were

back then, each deep-fried grilled cheese bite

hushed the thrumming. Fingers greasy– wiped

on napkins, wiped and wiped and wiped.


Every suburb needs a callous-

fingered harpist to bleed heaven

from her hands from her driveway,

to raindrop angels into puddles

after storms of indifference.

Imagine: lawns grow in

the pizzicato of days first plucked,

then plodding. Homes, once full

of promise, rot– bricks erode

to the sharp of strings

slowly falling from the sky.

Boneless Wings, Cigs – James Croal Jackson

Welcome to May, everyone!

Though you are reading this from us, the Spring ’19 editors, you are reading it in absentia. Our time, though wonderful, is up in the Hedge Apple chair. As it says in the post pinned to the top of the site, we are closed for submissions until the next editors start their own journey.

Just because the Hedge Apple is, for now, untended doesn’t mean, however, we can’t bring you as many wonderful submissions as possible.

Here are a couple of poems from James Croal Jackson–the first is perhaps fitting for the wistfulness we feel over our, for the moment, empty chairs.

These also deserve, as any poem does, in every way to stand in their own light–to share their unique colors with the world.



Boneless Wings

Following a trip to Vegas

in August heat, my skin itched

for good. I ended us.

No, you said. We were a done deal.

You would not leave my apartment.

We drank juice and vodka

to forget we had ever

talked about forever.

We rode a Lyft to BW3

at 2 P.M. on a Thursday

because a cheap happy hour

is a kind of grim reminder.

We ordered boneless wings at the bar.

The bartender told us ignition is cheap.

Beer stripped us to tender meat

and there was no more steam.  

Your skirt mushroomed in the breeze

when you stepped outside to smoke.  

We had locked ourselves out when

the clouds produced rain, not keys.


we smoke

our paper


in the storm

then run

from your mom

to seek

an awning

to shield

the holes

in our chests



by rain



from our mouths

billowed gray

how it floats

above like

to warn us

forests need not

consume flame


James Croal Jackson swore he’d never work in film again after leaving L.A. He has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Columbia Journal, Rattle, and Hobart. He edits The Mantle. Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. jimjakk.com