Yuki Jackson

She is Risen

At all times,
I’m aware of the eternal.

And at all times,
I’m angry.

Even when I look tranquil,
my core is burning.

I had the dance beaten out of me,
a joyless existence
without love or sex
‘cuz I’m afraid to get intimate.

Or maybe I’ve been taken
by an invisible Him.

I was 20 when I lost my virginity.
I first had sex
with a drug dealer
who didn’t mean it
when he said he loved me.
Now looking back
with the eyes of an artist,
it was cave paintings
from the first humans.
Red handprints
were pressed on the walls.
He said he would have to set
the blood-soaked mattress
on fire.

There were 3 lights, 3 chairs
and a piece of weave
as we walked out
The Infinity Room
by Kusama.

I wept twice:
once when I read the poem
and the other when I saw
Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage.
A statue of a couple
embracing each other
laying down, inside a graveyard.

I remembered
when we laid down in the field
and when He said,
this time around
He’s going to be the woman.

I learned that Kusama,
the world’s most successful living female artist,
voluntarily committed herself
to a mental health facility
after many suicide attempts.

Jesus rose
after 3 days
and I Baker Acted myself
for 72 hours.

I had a breakthrough session
with my therapist.
She said, you’re afraid to be human.

I said, I’ve always been my family’s dirty secret.

When I had my psych eval,
there was a smiling black man on the wall
and the words you, yourself,
as much as anybody
in the entire universe
deserve your love and affection.

I sat down in line
to get medication
and the woman who held the door open
said, aren’t you going to stand up?

Statistics show
that when a woman kills a man
it’s because he was abusing her.
It was an unhealthy relationship
and she was trying to get away.

He once told me
He would die
for what He believes.

There was that time
He text me saying
He felt obsolete.

He knew that in this lifetime
I had to be released.

When he was younger,
he wanted to be a porn star
and an assassin.

He showed me
Wing Chun moves
and how to punch
through a wall.

Wing Chun Kung Fu was founded
by a woman forced to marry
someone she didn’t want.

She fought
to gain her independence.

Statistics show
that when a woman kills a man
it’s because he was abusing her.
It was an unhealthy relationship
and she was trying to get away.

There was that time the lady told me
that Jesus is chasing me down.
I thought, I need a restraining order.

Do you remember the moment
you heard America’s favorite father
was a rapist?

Worship me
and let me come onto you
or I will chase you down
with my love

As I laid next to Him
I felt myself shrink into myself
and wish over and over,

please, God, no.
Please, God, no.

Statistics show
that when a woman kills a man
it’s because he was abusing her.
It was an unhealthy relationship
and she was trying to get away.

Bang, bang,
I shot Him down.

Bang, bang,
he hit the ground.

Bang, bang,
that awful sound.

Bang, bang.


I can hear
my roommate’s birds
get aggressive
with their bell

I ring mine three times
and sing a mantra
to free myself

my feet, no longer laced up

when I Baker-Acted myself
they made me unlace my sneakers
so I wouldn’t hang myself

the ties are removed,
so I’m free to move forward

as I pray
I think about the phrase
you’re preaching to the choir

does this mean
we consider those who sing
to already possess
spiritual knowledge?

in the chapel is a capella,
a choir, a body of singers
who perform
led by a conductor

the Central
African Republic
Aka pygmies’
vocal musical tradition
mastered by all community members

the songs perpetuate
essential knowledge

like my friend
the soprano
who studies music
so she can heal others

and I think about how we awaken
to bird sounds

Nichiren writes:
This is what is meant by ‘Buddha’

when a caged bird sings,
birds flying in the sky
are thereby summoned

Sensei’s last lines
in The New Human Revolution:
In his mind’s eye,
[he] had an uplifting vision

majestic young eagles
bathed in the dawning light
of the third millennium

before the musical performance
on the top floor

I notice
the two headed eagle pattern
surrounding The Attic

I tell Chael it reminds me
of Nichiren’s instruction
to a couple

the Buddha preaches
on Eagle Peak
after the Ceremony
in the Air

he is my favorite MC
so I place his photo
next to my favorite poem
about birds being men
and men being birds

in his rap video,
he’s on top
of a parking garage,
palms spread wide,
facing up

he tells me
he did poetry
because he wanted
to take a flight

in today’s Hey Qween,
the queen known for being high
talks about the time
she went sky-diving

McGovern says to her,
I appreciate
an intersectional jump,
thank you very much,
for representing
femininity where it lives,
even if it’s in the sky
hurtling to earth

YUKI JACKSON is an African-American and Japanese poet whose work appears in Foundry, Entropy, Creative Pinellas and others. She is the founder of The Battleground, a youth program in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood of Tampa, Florida. Yuki also teaches writing at Ringling College of Art and Design. Her writing is inspired by her Soka Gakkai International Buddhist practice, hip-hop lyricism and the art within daily life. She can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @YukiJacksonPoet.


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