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The Assassination Museum

Authors: Andy Jackson

Published by Red Squirrel Press

ISBN: 9781906700164

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"Andy Jackson's book is alive with possibility and excitement: the possibility of remaking poems within the Scottish Literary heritage, the excitement of using rhyme and half-rhyme to amplify a voice rather than stifle it, the possibility of using memory to create and shape real, lasting works of art, and the excitement of a new voice emerging with confidence and real ability..."
Ian McMillan, Poet and Broadcaster

"For his debut collection, Andy Jackson has assembled a line-up of characters and moments discovered in the dark corners of popular culture and modern lifestyles. Woodstock and Dallas jostle for place with the local high street and recent tabloid footnotes. Jackson writes with an energy and pace which drives poems of almost disconcerting range and scope, and his firm grasp of this material allows oddball voices to go off on their own tangents before he reels them in again. Writing about them - the laconic and the loitering, the damned as well as the dead - his word choice is scalpel sharp. Also running through the collection is a strain of surreal fun, a lively enjoyment of nonsense which surfaces from time to time, and occasional more personal poems slow the pace down nicely to a perfect finish."
Eleanor Livingstone, Poet and Artistic Director, StAnza

Andy Jackson was born in Manchester in 1965, but after getting married moved to Scotland in 1992, settling in north-east Fife and working at Dundee University. He didn't start to take the writing of poetry seriously until 2002 when he attended a creative writing group in Dundee led by the then writer-in-residence Colette Bryce. He has since had poetry published in New Writing Scotland, New Writing Dundee, Lighten Up Online and Poetry News. He won the National Galleries of Scotland creative writing competition in 2008 in the 'unpublished' category, the prize for which was to attend an Arvon course with Sean O'Brien and Alan Brownjohn, where he was further inspired by those two great writers. Andy follows in a long line of Scottish-based Librarians who have forged a name in poetry - Douglas Dunn, Colin will, Judith Taylor, Kathleen Irvine to name a few, and also A B Jackson, who despite having the same name is no relation. The Assassination Museum is Andy's debut collection.

'Air Band Radio'

Each Friday, softened by wages,
he came home early
and lay dissolving his worker's grime,
the water rising and falling with his breath,
lapping in sympathy with the buzz
of his radio -
Not music but chatter
from the control tower,
the cocky few flying in for the weekend.
He knew their business -
diverted souls bound for Blackpool
or weathered out of Ringway,
in shells small enough to drop steeply
onto the green moss pasture
across the canal.

His sons passed out in rigid blue,
rank upon rank upon rank,
starting a life he might have wanted as his own.
He never saw himself in them
or them in him.

Crisply clothed in clean dusk air,
he watched alone from the turf below the tower,
stood at the wrong end of his binoculars,
his radio hissing gently on the car bonnet.
Noisy, tiny aircraft stooged above,
little wings, diamonds in the sky,
gleaming with every dip of their nose.
The mystery of their glass and silver skins
turned to china-cloth and plywood,
such a disappointment when you got close.

'The Assassination Museum'

In Dallas you can lean through any window
that overlooks the plaza, pull a walking stick
into your shoulder, squeeze until the second breath,

and pick off lonely crypto-fantasists,
Templars and phrenologists, paparazzi on mopeds,
MI6 and monster hunters, ten-a-penny whistleblowers,

those who claim against all sense that they were there,
or know some covert thing we never could.
They gather there in gleeful swarms to sing

their fatal songs, their anthems for the paranoid.
Tune in soon to hear some compelling truths
about the secret coup d'etat by ruthless neocons,

or find out how the shadows on the moon that lit the world
were cast by arc lights in a hidden shed in Idaho.
The King was never dead, and now impersonates himself.

OK, you got this far. You passed the test. I think we trust each other.
Now you need to know some things. I can't say what, but rest assured
that when they come to light they will uncrash the car, unfire the gun.

If I should die in questionable circumstances, get this poem
to the poet laureate. She'll know what to do.
They're coming for me now. They're at the door. It's up to you.
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