Friday, December 31, 2010

Quesadillas and the Simpsons

[I wanted to get one last poem in 2010]


I want to make you a quesadilla

with sour cream, salsa, and chicken too.

I want to light a candle

sit you down in front of the TV

and watch Simpsons reruns.


you know you want it too.

The tortilla will be browned and crispy

That cheese will be melted perfectly

and the Simpsons reruns

will be from an early season.

Sweet thing,

you need to come on over

I got the tortillas out

the cheese is grated

the chickens about to be grilled

and the Simpsons come on in a half hour

So you coming over?

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Growing up here

didn’t make me love rain,

but I got attached to it.

The sound of a downpour on cedar shingles

the rhythm of windshield wipers

hydroplane-ing over puddles on I5

taking off damp socks

the smell of the sidewalk at the beginning of a drizzle

hiding deep in a rain jacket.

It’s not like I feel happy when it rains,

just at home.

Jake's Top Five Poems of 2011

I fully realize this is an exercise in blogging narcissism, but I'm bored. I hope that these brief commentaries don't kill the poems.

5. A Mixed CD for Graham

This is a poem form that I think is a Jake-original, which is one reason I like it. I was also happy that the importance of rooted-ness came out in the poem. It’s satisfying to have a big idea successfully communicated in a poem. I think home and Graham are to important topics that are not written about enough.

4. The second of my Four Short Morning Poems

Even though it’s only three lines, this is one of my favorites. Morning bus stop waits are poem worthy events.

3. 2nd Corinthians

This is the best example I have of my faith-based poems that get at some of the juxtaposition of the ideal and reality. Also, illustrated in this top five is my clear bias for faith-based poems. They are hard to write in ways that aren’t cheesy or jaded, so I’m excited every time I feel I’m able to steer between these two poles.

2. Genesis 2: A Love Poem

I like writing about little kids, love, and scripture; this poem has all three. It borrows from Mike McGee at the end. It’s also a love poem that I feel avoids over-use of hyperbole, which is a sign of progress for me.

1. Follow the Leader

A fictional poem based on a real person (who rules) and a scriptural reflection by a real person (who also rules). This poem makes me smile. I like the big idea I was going for, and that that idea is not the only thing one can take away from it. It’s also part of a complete, though flawed, mini-collection of poems; which is something I have tried and failed to create many many times. I also like that the poem is hella Calvin and Hobbes-y.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boyfriend Troubles?

or Why You Shouldn't Have Private Conversations on the Bus

A young girl sits next to me on the bus. 19 or 20. She avoids eye contact, like all attractive people do on the bus. The bus is full but quiet.

A block into our ride her phone goes off. She answers it, with a voice louder than I’d expect from a girl her size and age:

“I don’t want to talk to you

No you’re being an asshole

No I’m pissed

Don’t come over tonight


How did you think I’d react?

Really, that’s all you have to say?

So mature!!

No I’m not pissed

I have to go this is my stop”

She hangs puts the phone away and rolls her eyes.

I lean over and use my Barry White voice: “Boy friend troubles? Girl, you know I wouldn’t treat you like that.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Jake Tucker was born in the bowels of Everett, Washington when the nation still loved Van Halen. He currently lives in Vancouver BC, where he studies theology. He has been published in a few places online and in print, Jeopardy being the glossiest. He has self-published two chapbooks, both of which are loved by his mother. He began reading his poems at Poetry Night in Bellingham, Washington.


He told me he fell asleep on the bus and woke up at home

he called it a miracle, something like Jesus would do

somehow I doubt that passing out on public transit and

leaving a trail of vomit from the back door to the bedroom

would have made it in a gospel,

but maybe I’m just a cynical old skeptic.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A brown-haired boy

runs laps around the coffee shop


with his pants around his knees

An old couple scowls

the barista’s eyes search the shop

for the boy’s mother

two high school girls laugh

A middle-aged woman

exits the restroom

immediately turns red


Genesis 2: A Love Poem

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

When God put Adam in the Garden

He brought out a parade of

all the things He made

The most badass animals at the front

grizzly bears, wombats, and wolverines

each of them introduced themselves to the man

God showed Adam

all his favorite things

His parrots sang in harmonies

His gibbons had choreographed dances

His pandas had tumbling routines

His elephants did head-stands

His puppies tripped over their ears

His alligators performed Handel’s Messiah

And after all this

Adam was still lonely

and sulked

. . .

When I went to my friend’s house for my first Canadian Thanksgiving, he had built up my arrival. As I walked in the door I heard the high pitch screams of two little girls who showed me into the living room, and then the rituals began.

First they brought out their building blocks, handing them to me saying “these are our building blocks” and then retreated into their playroom. Next they brought out their toy cars, handing them to me saying “these are our cars” and then retreated into their playroom. And so it went until their playroom was empty, the turkey was waiting, and I felt like one of the family.

. . .

I like you

more than a little

more than a lot

I want to show you my hometown

“this is my favorite teriyaki place

they have the best spicy chicken

I’ve ever had”

“This is the first bar

I ever drank an IPA at

you can play horseshoes out back”

I want to show you all my favorite people

“This is my Mom, Pam, she’s a teacher,

like me, but full-time and with young kids,

she beat cancer”

“This is my sister

she has two masters degrees

and planted an artsy church

in Sacramento”

“This is Graham,

he writes, like me, but better

he has a masters degree too

he’s the one who got me to start writing”

“This is Mike,

he climbs mountains

and has an awesome story

about a man-parts injury”

I want to show you

all of my favorite things

so that you can like them with me

I want to know all your favorite things too

so that I can like them with you

This might mean

I’m moving past liking you

more than a little

more than a lot

And I may have to start using

a new verb altogether.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Christmas Liturgy

So this is loosely based off of Isaiah 11. The idea is that the congregation reads the bold, and the leader reads the rest. As I doubt this will ever be used in a church, I mostly just think its a fun form to reflect on scripture with. These poems have names too, and I'll probably post them individually at some point.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The old man stopped playing his guitar after his kids grew up. The guitar was placed in a closet under suit jackets that no longer fit, and old rain coats.

His daughter found the guitar while cleaning the house after her mom died. She asked her dad why he never played anymore. He grunted and shuffled to the kitchen to make some tea.

After everything was dusted and the suit jackets were donated to the Salvation Army, the guitar sat, un-played, next to the television. The Gibson hollow-body was now an antique, its red-orange sunburst the only color in gray room.

On a Wednesday morning a few months later, the old man was passing the time staring. Sun-beams roamed the living room like spotlights. One came to rest on the antique. The old man got out of his musky recliner, shuffled out to the shed to see if he could find his old Fender amp.

with righteousness he will judge the needy,

with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.

The wolf will live with the lamb,

Border-collies can’t help but herd

its fun to watch them on walks with families

running circles around them

The herding instinct is a vestige

of when border-collies’ ancestors

were mortal enemies of sheep

Now they are domesticated

to protect their former prey

and I think this may be

a form of foreshadowing.

the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together;

and a little child will lead them.

Ian and I play “follow-the-leader”

Ian, being five years old,

plays the part of the leader

we crawl all over his house

over dusty linoleum

underneath the kitchen table

my allergies start to kick in

as Ian taunts me

telling me to hurry up

when we reach

the edge of the linoleum

Ian explains to me

the hardwood floor

is actually hot lava

and that to get over it

without being burned alive

we had to build a bridge

of the couch cushions

on the other side of the sea magma

there is lost world

where we are cave men

hunting long-neck dinosaurs

when suddenly we’re ambushed from behind

by a tyrannosaurus rex

who had taken the form of a bunk bed

the great beast tears off my legs

with a mighty gulp

I drag myself to safety

with my elbows

while Ian destroys the t-rex

with a somersault-roundhouse kick

to baseball-slide combo

when his dad got back from the store

I was covered in dust from head to toe as

Ian spewed an endless stream of incomplete sentences

with copious amounts of gestures

in an attempt to regale his dad with the details

of our epic adventure

exhausted, I

sprawled out half-dead

on couch-cushions

in the middle of the living room floor

sneezing with bloodshot eyes

happy to have followed a leader of true vision

The cow will feed with the bear,

their young will lie down together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

The infant will play near the cobra’s den,

the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.

I’ve always hated snakes. Like most honest people. They move weird, have an evil look in their eyes, and generally freak me out.

The cowboy pastor of the church my youth group stayed at on our way through New Mexico told us there were plenty of rattle snakes around. Told us about how he’d chased one down in the parking lot and squashed its head with the heal of his boot. Our youth minister did the only responsible thing a 25-year-old man could do: he took us on a rattlesnake hunt. We all piled into the ten-passenger van with big sticks and went down to the bridge, where we threw sticks and rocks at shadowy areas that looked “snakey.”

There are mice that live in the wall of my room. They nibble and scurry all through the night. Mice are adorable, as comes naturally to all small mammals with the exception of the opossum. But their evil-disease-ridden-vermin. They got into my pancake batter last week and crapped all over it. I had to throw the whole thing out. You know how many pancakes I could have made with that batter? A lot, that’s how many! If I could, I'd squash every one of the little bug-eyed-bastards.

Now I feel bad I was ever mean to snakes. I look forward to the day when this global warming hoopla finishes its work and the rattlesnakes migrate up to Vancouver. Maybe then I could get a decent night’s sleep.

They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,

for the earth will be filled

with the knowledge of the LORD

as the waters cover the sea.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Strawberry Plants

Our garden was crowded in August

the strawberry plants covered every inch

but none of them had any strawberries

In October I searched the freezers of Safeway

for frozen strawberries to go in my oatmeal

failing this I grabbed a bag of blueberries

I paid six dollars for frozen blueberries

and sent up a small prayer for my strawberry plants

The Old Man and the Guitar

A piece inspired by some art. Old Man Playing Guitar is a Picasso:

The old man stopped playing his guitar after his kids grew up. The guitar was placed in a closet under old suit jackets that no longer fit, and rain coats.

His daughter found it when she came over to help clean the house after her mom died. She asked her dad why he never played anymore. He grunted and shuffled to the kitchen to make some tea.

After everything was dusted and the suit jackets were donated to the Salvation Army, the guitar sat, un-played, next to the television. The Gibson hollow-body was now an antique. Its red-orange sunburst was the only color in gray room.

One Wednesday morning sun-beams roamed the living room like spotlights. The old man wondered if his amplifier was still in the shed, and if so, if it worked. Getting up out of his musky recliner, he shuffled out to the shed to see if he could find the ancient Fender.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hops of Healing

and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:2

I left behind pictures

of white clouds

old men in flowing robes

with long white beards

golden gates

halos and harps

I’m more persuaded these days

of vineyards and orchards

mid-day naps

clean water

wheat, barley, hops

warm pubs

cold beer

enjoyed with the One

who made it all new.

Red Red Wine

I cut the sleeves off my sweatshirt because it’s awesome

I know you disagree, but you’re wrong

you’re not wrong about many things

but you don’t understand that awesome is better than classy

tonight I’m going to sing that red red wine song loudly

ask the pretty girls if they’d rather date a man with a Hitler-stach or me

you never answered the question when I asked you

but I still think I can convince you to sing with me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good Morning

When the sun came out

I was already soaked

my socks were damp

I was shivering

When I arrived at school

you greeted me

“Isn’t it a beautiful morning?”

In reply

I smacked

the coffee out of your hand.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Want a Coyote T-Shirt

I recently

spent twenty minutes

researching the differences

between wolves of coyotes:

wolves are larger

coyotes appear on fewer truck stop t-shirts

coyotes are also anti-social

I assume their loner tendencies

signify a propensity

for deep thoughts

they also have bushier tails

on an evening run

through the endowment lands

I spotted a coyote

only thirty yards ahead of me

on the windy trail

it was jogging

ahead of me

so I matched its pace

to follow it

to get a better look


the coyote was startled

by my curiosity

and began running

so I ran too

soon the coyote

abandoned the trail

I couldn’t justify

trampling through the brush

and so gave up the chase

I only wish

I could have told the coyote

that I’d choose its shirt

over a wolf shirt

because I like bushy tails.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Home for the Holidays

The lights are out in downtown Everett

Christmas music is blaring from street corner speakers

as I walk from the bar to the hockey arena

Our team is not good

but we Everett people

are a classy bunch

we stay civil

even when our team is down 6-2

at the end of the second period

A pony-tailed man

three rows up on center-ice

holds a hockey stick

with a teletubie

dressed in a referee outfit

hanging from a noose

I think it’s tinkie-winkie

He leads us in a liturgy

leader: HEY REF

congregation: YOU SUCK

leader: That’s for you Johnson

you jackass

While it doesn't look like our team
will mount a comeback of any type

it still feels good to be home

especially for the holiday season

celebrating it with thousands of drunks

the way my family has always observed the holidays

with blind, irrational, and misplaced rage.