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Jackie Don’t You Go

By Dianne Pearce

Certain evenings 

when your heart relaxes

suicide looks like the ultimate life absurdity

You’re no fat night crawler squirming for the hook,

the carp’s mouth

You didn’t come yelling into this world just to leave before the show ends.


Have you opened your nose tonight? 

Pump out your ribs and smell the Brugmansia trumpets

If the blooms hang down they call them angels

If they rise up they call them devils

It seems the wrong way ‘round altogether

but they are irresistible in either direction

And why are they here, deadly dangerous but so ravishing, so beguiling, 

so good for nothing 

beyond being pretty

beyond making the evening smell lovely.


Oh, Jackie, so silly, 

no no no

how could you ever want to go

when world smells sweet under moon glow

and anyway how do you know

that you too aren’t just here for show-


Or here for smell?


I bet you there is something living among us that absolutely wants to lick the air as you walk by…

Wow… Jackie, Girl, that’s you, Baby, and only you, the perfect selection

Take another turn around the block, Honey

Shake out your skirt, your hair, your wings

Let your beautiful tumble down around you


Because you are full of beautiful

the site, the sound, the smell of you

the inside and the out of you

the dark thoughts and the light

We’ve never seen you before and we’ll never know your like again


Girl, what you don’t seem to know

is that the porch swing still creaks and swings, creaks and swings and never breaks

That the stars in the sky have tiny glitter flowers

like the clusters of little purple ones on stolen lilacs,

and they gladly 


shimmer down

onto your new hairdo, your tanned hands, your cute feet bare slapping on the porch boards


You could let yourself sit under the fall of star flowers

You could let yourself listen to the creaking swing

You could let yourself smell smell smell 

all the sweet trumpets of heaven and hell.


C’mon and admit it with me

that certain evenings, like tonight, the heart relaxes

That there’s still plenty of untried lips

Truly nothing done that can’t be undone

right down to the marriage and the mortgage

As long as you stick around to undo it.


The day after the next one you might be in the right place at just the right time


As long as you are someplace, and not no place

As long as your secret smell

that you don’t even know you have

still exists to waft around the neighborhood

for no reason except to call attention to the beauty that is you

to cause someone to want to lick the air as you go by

Girl, that’s you, all you, damn.

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