“On the Road, Columbia, South Carolina, Spring 1959” A Poem by Reuben Jackson
“There’s much said in what’s not said in Reuben Jackson’s poetry. His cleverly sparse style often convincingly veils the complexities of which he writes, just until the poet sharply corrects our deception.” Linda Stiles
Those deceptions Ms. Stiles refers to above often come from Reuben’s use of the child’s point of view. As a child, the narrator, and reader by proxy, is looking up at the absurdity of adult interests and actions with a renewed curiosity. The narrator misses the cut of the barber’s words when asked “aren’t you proud of being negro?” The narrator cannot reason why the neon lights of the roadside motel are fading in the rear-view window, and yet his father seemed once so confident. Perhaps, this is not a lost point of view which must be recalled exclusively in art. Perhaps, Reuben has simply reminded us that “growing-up” is more a phenomenon of the bone than the psyche. Whatever his reasons, hearing Reuben, a grown man, an accomplished poet, a scholar, read vicariously through the specter of a child he once was is sobering, vulnerable, and hauntingly familiar.
Hear Reuben read “On the Road, Columbia, South Carolina, Spring 1959”
On the Road, Columbia, South Carolina, Spring 1959