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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Poetry: 152 words [R]
125 words [R]
By Jack Cooper

Two Poems


Mind to Molecule

The problem is 
we can’t get over ourselves 
We’re like peacocks 
who have somehow become convinced 
that nothing is more spectacular out there 

We’re the ultimate and who can argue 
They have pretty feathers 
We have Monet 
They have the lark 
We have Chopin 
They have butterflies and bottle-nosed dolphins 
sunflowers and sequoias 
We have samurai and Shakespeare 
rockets and The Rockettes 

Fundamentally we lack perspective 
There is so much to humble us 
beyond the human enterprise 
thinking of rainbows and crystal caves 
stars ten thousand times as bright as the Sun 
nebula the color of opals 
the size of the Milky Way 

What gets lost is 
the truly spectacular 
like life after rain 
love after hurt 
and the enigma of entanglement 
that we’re neither us nor other but one 
that mind to molecule 
feather to feather 
everything belongs to everything else 
to the awe of the ordinary 


—Published previously in Crosswinds Poetry Journal (2016); appears here with author’s permission

Sunbow (Sun Halo), photograph by Kazuko Cooper
Sunbow [Sun Halo] (26 May 2020)
© by Kazuko Cooper. All rights reserved.

Feast of Impulse

A day can turn on 
one moment of sweetness— 

a first peach in May, 
a dog barking at wind, 

a child scolding a doll 
for not washing its hands at tea. 

On a certain glen 
with goldback ferns and 

Queen Anne’s lace, 
where aromas of anise 

arise in intelligent wakefulness 
to tug at your sleeve, 

urging you to pay attention to the stirring, 
to gaze into an elsewhere that whispers 

“I have something to show you, 
something to show you.” 

And so you leave behind the heavy air, 
the bad roads, 

guess your way down slippery slopes 
and grab hold of the sky 

trusting only your call to be there 
for the feast of impulse, 

the enormity 
of life changing its mind. 


—Published previously in the poet’s collection Across My Silence and appears here with his permission

Jack Cooper
Issue 4, July 2020

is the author of the poetry collection Across My Silence (World Audience, Inc., 2007). His poetry, flash fiction, essays, and mini-plays have appeared in more than 70 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.

Recent 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. One of his micro-fictions (Options, republished in Issue 3 of KYSO Flash) was selected in April 2015 as winner of the annual String-of-10 Contest, sponsored by Flash Fiction Chronicles. 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. His essay It’s Time to Rethink Recycling appears in Earth Island Journal (18 June 2020).

Cooper is a Contributing Editor here at MacQ and served as Co-editor of KYSO Flash from 2016 thru 2019 (Issues 6–12).

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