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Wade in the Water

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Wade in the Water describes existence as being like a rose. Though people may suffer getting cut by thorns and withdrawing alone in cold silence where nothing is heard or seen, everything still carries a message like that flower.


A mother soothing a restless child, a snail carrying its home on is back while it climbs out of flooded grass, tears for the pity of war, a child comforting a mother, people with scars healing, the sky  gently and gladly offering her sunrise after a cold night, life's events in this book seem to speak a message symbolized by a rose over thorns.


Taking time to listen and to see a traveller in the universe might feel victorious rapture watching children playing under a rainbow. The children living for joy and love are like freedom's prophets with their shared tears and shared laughter joining hearts on a mutual quest.


Wade in the Water describes the earth they play on as being like one country at peace on common ground, ground so common a bold imagination might see it like a great ship on a journey to tomorrow, a great ship born to carry her people home.


Steve Jackson is a seeker who invites us into his journey. He is a person of principle loving love as the primary essence and compass for his travels. He is curious, inquisitive and always open, seeking the insight of others to congeal his vision and direction. His rich and crafted conversational speech is poetry revealing a heart mourning with those who cry, celebrating with those who laugh, and always looking beyond life's dust to a place where people can wade in the water, water he regards as a great gift from a master artist, the universe.



Richard Weekley

Editor Los Angeles Poet Press

Book Excerpts

Discover breathtaking excerpts from Wade in the Water.


Purple Plums

My Father's Clothes


How far should you go
to fulfill a dying woman’s wish.

My neighbor Linda
was dying of cancer in the hospital.

Doctors gave her a few days.
She phoned me in the night
and said none of her friends
would break hospital rules
and bring her cat to her
so she could say goodbye.

Linda was a good friend,
and I felt her approaching death
gave her a right to see
this creature she loved so much
in her life.
So, I carried the cat to my car
and we drove down the freeway

towards the hospital a few miles away.

The cat climbed up on the flat space

between the back seat
and the rear window
and crouched nervously looking around

silhouetted by headlights moving with us.

The cat’s name was Haley.
Linda named her after the comet.

I thought about the comet

circling the earth
appearing regularly
through time
as sure as death itself.

I wondered why is death

taking this woman,

a good-looking woman,
only forty years old,
single, living an innocent life

with her cat

in her one-bedroom apartment.

Why death?
What’s the purpose of it

here in the vast universe?

How did it come to be?

In the rear-view mirror
I saw Haley with her black fur
and gleaming green eyes
looking afraid.
I spoke softly, gently to her.
“Haley, come here,”
and she climbed over the front seat

into my lap.
I stroked her while she raised her head

to look out the window
like she was asking me
“Where are we going?”

At the hospital
I parked in the lot,
tucked Haley in a traveling bag

and climbed the stairway
to Linda’s room
where her childhood friend, Jane,

tenderly watched over her.

When Linda saw me
she said she was sorry
she was in so much pain
and she moaned to Jane,
“The morphine’s not stopping

the pain.”

With a look of strongly willed composure

on her kind face
Jane said gently,
“The nurse will be here soon

with more morphine.”

Jane closed the door

while I took Haley
out of the traveling bag

and laid her down

by Linda’s hand.
Linda smiled weakly,

stroked her,
and murmured, “Thanks

for this gift.”

What can you give someone
whose life
is being taken away?
What I’d given her
seemed so small, tiny,
and inadequate
I helplessly reached
for Linda’s hand.
She squeezed my hand
and with a soft, low,
reassuring voice she said,
“It’s alright,”
and I had to draw on
all my will power
to keep from crying
tears of admiration for her strength,

and tears of sorrow for her death,

for my own death I saw in hers,
for everyone’s death.

She smiled a faintly grateful smile

when she saw my eyes were wet

and gave my hand another squeeze

while she stroked Haley

and whispered, “Water.”

I held a paper cup of water to her lips.

She drank
and stroked the cat.

Looking around her room,
her last room,
I saw two teddy bears on a table,

vases of flowers on the window ledge,

Jesus on a cross
looking down from the wall.

“Water,” she whispered

and Jane tenderly held

the cup of water
to her lips

and she drank
and stroked Haley
while Jane stroked Linda’s cheek
until Linda’s pain was too much
and she needed the nurse
to come with morphine.
I held Haley close to Linda’s face.
She kissed the cat’s head
and moaned, “She looks afraid,
could you please take her home?”
and I told her, “Sure,”
looking into Linda’s eyes
that glowed with innocence and beauty

I’d never seen before.
Her eyes looked like a child’s eyes
and I hoped her fear of death
was a shadow
fading in morphine’s oblivion
and she would be a traveler
like a child in a new world.

I stroked Linda’s cheek

and kissed her forehead.

“I love you,” she whispered.

She was always telling people,

“I love you.”
It was her way
and I always said I back to her

though we both knew
we weren’t more than friends.

“I love you,” I told her
and kissed her lips in the way
I kiss a woman I’m in love with

and she thanked me.

Haley and I drove back on the freeway

with headlights moving with us

through the darkness.

Back home I parked the car

and opened the car door.

Haley leaped out,
ran across the street

and crouched under a parked car.

Linda died in Jane’s arms

in the night.
Jane called and asked
if Haley could live with me

and I took the cat in.

She rests here beside me
on the sofa.
I stroke her fur
and feel an appreciation for life
I didn’t feel before Linda’s death.

Maybe that’s the reason for death,

it’s the great teacher.

Haley purrs
and rests her head

gently on my chest.

Purple Plums

Between jobs,
living in my car
I needed to wash up.

Through the sun’s heat

I drove to a park
with its tall shady trees

and its concrete sink

like an oasis

where I splashed water
all around my face and hair.

Looking up
I saw a man
walking cautiously towards me

like he wasn’t sure
what to make of me.

Seeing my can of shaving cream

there by the faucet
he probably knew
I was homeless.

I figured he might regard me

like I sometimes regard

homeless men,
“might ask for money,

might smell bad,

might be carrying a disease.”

To put him at ease
I said hello with a friendly tone

and stepped back from the sink

to let him use it.

He washed off something

and when he turned to me

I saw three purple plums

resting like tranquil birds

on his palms.

“Do you like plums?” he said.

“One?” I told him
not wanting to be a pig.

“No,” he said,

“all three.”

I thanked him,

took them and ate.

My Father’s Clothes

As I walk by his bedroom door
I see my father
standing in his white boxer shorts

selecting a shirt from his closet.

He’s 80 and still works.

He sees me watching him,

raises his eyebrows,
and gazes back into the closet.

He chooses a plain tan shirt,

slips it on,
buttons it.

There’s a piece of lint

on the shoulder there.

With my fingertips

I brush it off.

Follow the Journey

Discover Steve Jackson's latest work and read excerpts from his books, An Affair in the Valley, The Harbor and Wade in the Water.



The Spectacle

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