Anton's Poems and List of Possible Yearbook Quotes (from Jenny Davidson)

In June 1988, some time after we broke up, Anton sent me a short note. He enclosed in the same envelope a sheet of paper he'd just found from the summer before; on the reverse side, the text of one of his very first poems. This turned out to be original poem in Anton's famous series of "Jack" poems, a running joke through all his letters to me over the course of the year (a joke whose origins had been shrouded in mystery). Here is the original poem from July 1987:

One day little Jack
put a fork into a
jack. That hurt.

His mother tore him
away from it But he
held on tight.
She thought he was
But he wasn't.

In fact, he was
very smart. His first
words were Trigonometry
and secant.
His father was a math teacher.

Installment 2: January 1988. Anton provides an epigraph from the song "Happy Jack" (by the Who?) and amplifies on the original theme. The private joke about "Grandpa" in stanza three refers not to Anton's real grandfather but to a plastic urn that sat on the mantelpiece over the fire at the house we'd stayed in over Christmas at Chain O'Lakes in Texas. Anton insisted that the urn must contain "Grandpa"'s ashes.

Epigraph: "The kids would all sing, he [Happy Jack] would take the wrong key, so they wrote [?] on his head and hurried on their way. . . They dropped things on his head, they lied, lied, lied, lied, lied; but they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy."

Anton's commentary: By the way, the Jack of my poems is me in a (slightly) preverted form.

should have been called
1-boy Jack)
a studious
young man.
He played instruments of music.
And some
sports too.
He was
Can you say
"Renaissance Man?"
I didn't

He had
few friends.
But that was
of little or no
He could still
simplify a mean
algebra problem.

was hereditary.
got pretty
when they
urned him.

Jack (one-man, that is)
liked to eat Doritos
and Fig Newtons.
But not simultaneously.
That would be
And Jack was
certainly not
Neither am I,
dear reader. But
I too like
Doritos and Fig
Newtons when
taken separately.

Jack fell
in love.
With Jill.
Jill McDougan
was her full
She was perfect in
every way and he
loved her.
They married.
All parents blessed the
ceremony. It was beautiful.

Jill wrote an epic poem
about Jack.
Jack was happy
and sad.
He was happy
to be a
famous hero.
He was sad that
he could not
express his love
for Jill in
so refined
elevated a
Jack was a low-life.

Jack was a cowboy.
His dad Jim
was too.
Grandpa once
was too, but
by Jack's 14th
Birthday of Manhood
he was no
prairie dust mixed
with gopher dung.

Cowboy Jack
loved his cowgirl
more than
anyone ever has loved
or ever will.
In archaic terms,
they were
destined for each other.
Can you say "destined"?
Pretty good for a runt female gorilla from the Congo.

Next installment:

1-teenager Jack
used to ride
the bus
to go
from his prep
school (And
indeed, it
prepped him well) He
had to climb
a fence to
get to the
bus stop and
avoid walking
10 miles around
the fence
(actually, about 1/2 block round-trip)
He continually
tore holes in
his khaki pants.
And so his Fruit of the
Looms stuck out
And so 1-teenager-Jack
bought boxer shorts
from then on.
Designs are so
much cooler

One other thing. January 1988. Anton's list of possible yearbook quotes:

"Life is a pool table, after the breakshot" (Nietzche)

or how about "So much depends on a little red wheelbarrow glistening with rain water among the white chickens" (Massive Misquoters of America)

or "Enter life at your own risk" (Duncan (?))

or "Life is not a spectator sport" (Reebok Advertisement) or "Root Beer" (Alan)

or "Is it live--or is it Memorex?"

or "Holy Shit, Batman!" or "If life is just a waste of time, & time is just a waste of life, let's all get wasted and have the time of our lives" (Katie (?))

or how about quoting the Warning on a box of Valium? That could be neat.

or "I saw Mikhail Gorbachev having sex w/ Mr. Zulman the other day in London, when Bruce Jenner ran by and the Crunchberry beast swallowed them all whole" (Warren Xevon (spelling?))

or "Aw, Fuck You" (Big Bird, Oscar, & Snophalopagus, all in unison)

or "A Woman is a hole. A man is a stick" (Max) or "Don't tell me what kind of day to have" and "Happy Trails" (my nefarious English teacher)

or "It's a rubber, a condom, a building, a condominium" (someone doing pictionary) or "I did it my way" (The Sex Pistols)

or "Don't drink and drive" (Everyone) or "I'm on Hayes' Street" (Taxi commercial) or a Bartles & James quotation or...

"go get yourself some Cheap Sunglasses" (ZZ Top) or "I like the enchiladas and the teriyaki too, I even like the chicken if the sauce is not too blue"

Jenny Davidson