Winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2003
"A.B. Jackson has found a new voice for the 21st century. His stark admixtures of the sacred and surreal have the Gothic fascination of gold-inlaid medieval crucifixes. These poems are harsh, inventive, compassionate, disturbing. A lingering wit and an eye for the sinister keep the reader in suspense."
"Demanding and ambitious work: direct, sharp in manner, with an intellectual edge, a valedictory quality."
The Christmas Pet
A blood-sport refugee
kicking its heels in sanctuary.
It was an impulse buy,
spurred on by the children
and the straw season.
Care required, minimum:
recommended food, anything,
make the den inviting,
give the gold nose-ring
a good polish.
It did not flourish:
I offered barley and mash
without success. It grew
lean and repetitive, slow,
lean and repetitive. Now,
having churned up the lawn,
the small circle of indoors
scoring things with precise horns.
Sir Harry smiles from every wall.
Rain turns to sleet and falls
on three taxis planted in the rank.
A bus emblazoned Glasgow via Reykjavik
to the USA & Canada stands
empty opposite. Some bright spark
has amended a scrawled UVF
to LOVE in the gents' toilets.
Milling around, fake-fur coats
and shirts the colour of Opal Fruits.
Hands flare from various cuffs.
The papers are full of 'LUNAR ICE'
and far-out possibilities for life.
I'm smashed. There is no us.
A.B. Jackson © 2014