Listen to Poet Marcus Jackson Read "Shoeless Acrobatics on High Street, 2020"

The poem and photo of the same name are featured in the May 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly, a special issue dedicated to exploring the experiences of Black people in Central Ohio.

Marcus Jackson
"Shoeless Acrobatics on High Street, 2020"

From the old killings, the new killings

differ only slightly, and my grace

is the same as my grandmother’s,

a grace originally born on some night

specified by the blue, weighty air,

and by the soil insisting

violence is veiled meagerness.

Certainly, there were landlords,

hungers, nakedness, and taxes

all to be quelled, so I’ve worked among others,

into exhaustion and trepidation,

though I’ve somehow retained the fluidity

bequeathed to me, moving

through the city still struck

with sudden glimpses of dusk

daubing clouds above the high-rises,

the enormous nervous system

of crosswalks and traffic lights,

the memory of dancing as a child, and today

the great want, as if no faulty flip

or no hateful, mistaken man could kill me,

to still be dancing.