Introducing the March 2011 Readers – 2. Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson was born in Manchester but has lived in Scotland for 20 years. His poems have appeared in Magma, Gutter, Poetry News, New Writing Scotland, Northwords Now, Blackbox Manifold, Rising and other publications. His first collection ‘The Assassination Museum’ was published in March 2010 by Red Squirrel Press. He is currently leading a project entitled ‘Split Screen’ involving 60 other poets to create an anthology of poems inspired by movies & television.

Wild West

He moves from spreadsheets to mean streets,
the rubble prairies of his town,
overflowing bins and tumbleweed.
The drinks in here are watered down
but cheap. He knocks one back and slackens
off his bootlace tie, draws smiley faces
in the sawdust with his foot. A blackened
scowl is thrown to thrill the ladies.

The cowgirls form in grids, the sway
of tasseled skirts and clod of boots
always a continent adrift. His joy
is in the dance, the squarest root,
each bar a perfect subroutine,
a formula, a certainty of codes
which repeat and then refine
themselves, smoothing out like tides.

Lit by phosphorescent smirr of night,
dad’s old crombie glints with drizzle.
He is Alan Ladd in suit of lights,
his stetson and his smoking pistol
in a Tesco bag. A tombstone
in his guts, he rides the only stagecoach
in the west, afraid this town
ain’t big enough for both of him.

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