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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Poem: 265 words [R]
By Jack Cooper

Not of This World

The trick is to abide by 
each other’s uncomfortable secrets 
unheard of habits and moonly abstractions 
and not panic 
like the purple chairs you wanted to buy 
and keep in the garage 
until you manifested your shop 
for green tea and enlightenment 
like my insistence on bringing 
a two-hundred-pound geode 
in the overloaded car 
on our cross country trip 
and then again on our move up the coast 
as if the geode were part of the family 
like a sullen teenager or pet rock 

Then you flying off to a crystal conference 
during the exact time 
we were moving into a new house 
because it was only money as you like to say 
and what’s money for anyway as you also like to say 
and it’s only work as I like to answer 
left with the burden of 
building a ramp for the geode 

But there are all the ways you keep us 
healthy and doctor free 
like the ancient Himalayan salt 
with the spirit of the sea 
and the macha made for samurai 
the plums that can hold all the world’s sourness 
even as I try to sneak in some old-fashioned rationality 
like not buying those purple chairs 
until we both learn how to write a business plan 

We live here but we don’t as you like to say 
We are in this world but not of this world 
as you also like to say 
and it’s only love 
as I like to answer

—Published previously in Slant (Spring 2018); appears here with author’s permission

Jack Cooper
Issue 2, March 2020

is author of the poetry collection Across My Silence (World Audience, Inc., 2007). His poetry, flash fiction, essays, and mini-plays have appeared in dozens of publications, including bosque, Bryant Literary Review, Connecticut River Review, North American Review, Rattle, Santa Fe Literary Review, Slab, Slant, The Briar Cliff Review, The MacGuffin, The Main Street Rag, and The South Dakota Review, to name only a few.

Awards include Grand Prize Winner in Crosswinds Poetry Journal’s 2016 poetry contest, and the poem was published in their Spring 2017 issue. Cooper’s poetry has also been selected for Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” and Tweetspeak Poetry’s “Every Day Poems,” and his work has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. His play, That Perfect Moment (with co-writer Charles Bartlett), was a headliner at the NOHO Arts Center in North Hollywood and The Little Victory in the 2009-10 seasons.

A Contributing Editor here at MacQ, Cooper also served as Co-editor of the last eight issues of MacQ’s “big sister” journal, KYSO Flash (Issues 5 thru 12, from 2016 through Summer 2019).

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