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"Reflection No. 9" by Reuben Jackson

Never once had I seen a poet In dull brown orthopedic shoes.

Thick, nerdy glasses, yes. The stoop I nursed was my Mending Wall--

A semi-respite from the neighbor's rage. Who knew that beneath my guarded gaze, I was rifling through my head For words I'd use to praise Mountains? ---

Profoundly Accomplished Poet, velvet-voiced radio DJ, jazz scholar, music critic and educator Reuben Jackson transitioned into ancestry on February 16, 2024. From 2012 to 2018, he was the host of Friday Night Jazz on Vermont Public Radio. Jackson had an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz music and culture, which he put to good use in numerous other professional roles over the years. Additionally, he was an archivist with the University of the District of Columbia's Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives and a DJ at WFPW 89.3 FM in Washington, DC (co-host of The Sound Of Surprise with Larry Appelbaum). His music reviews appeared The Washington Post, JazzTimes, DownBeat and All About Jazz and were occasionally featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Jackson was also a mentor with The Young Writers Project. His first book of poems, fingering the keys, won the 1991 Columbia book award. His most recent collection is entitled Scattered Clouds: New & Selected Poems (Santa Fe Writer's Project 2019). Reuben Jackson's poems have been published in more than 40 anthologies including, most recently, This is the Honey, edited by Kwame Alexander, a New York Times bestseller. Note: the poem above is taken from Where We Stand: Poems of Black Resilience (Cherry Castle Publishing 2022).

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