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     with the Patience of Monuments by Jack Henry

Jack Henry lives in the high desert of SE California.  Published in numerous journals, he also has six chapbooks to his name.  with the Patience of Monuments is his first full length collection of poetry.  Jack Henry is the pen name of Thomas Kenney. 

Find out more about this author HERE.

with the Patience of Monuments by Jack Henry

“Jack Henry marches across the desert with one eye on the ground and one on the Beat heavens, unafraid of his own pain or humiliation, fearful for our communal future. Continuing the great tradition of American poetry that runs from Whitman through McKay and Ginsberg and Bukowski, he prefers the raw to the cooked, the unborn to the dead, and roads with little signage.” 

 - Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America (FSG)

ISBN 978-0-9819984-2-8
156 pages
5.5"x8.5" perfect bound, paper

To Purchase this book click HERE.


"Jack Henry's writing is the real deal. No bullshit, no posing. This is essential American literature." 

- Tony O'Neill, author/poet, Down and Out on Murder Mile (Harper Perennial)      

“Jack Henry slammed me in the face.

I have always admired Jack’s writing, his fearless self-revelations combined with a world-view that is equal parts jaded and hopeful. What knocked me off my feet in his first full-length collection, with the patience of monuments, is the way he turns himself inside out, and then goes down a little deeper, moves in a bit closer, and, just as you think he’s in for the kill, suddenly…a gentle word, a line so of such graceful beauty you get, well, slammed in the face. Again.
Great writing always includes the element of surprise, whether it’s a sucker punch or a spiked drink. This is a book that opens with the line:

                a single note destroyed me

tells us who he is and who he’s not in the second poem (very next breath)

                perhaps i’m like Jesus
                during those middle years
                and, further on,
                there’s a chance i am just a mirror
                broken on the floor in a symphony of single shards
thereby introducing the underlying spiritual/religious theme, and the overlying one, in which he provides a mirror not only into his own soul but into the reader’s. Looking deeply into the mirror is where I got slammed in the face and started to bleed; where I recognized the need in myself to gather the courage to throw myself onto the page like a maniac bungee jumper, no net, only a belief and love of the process and a little bit of faith in the outcome.

Part of the uniqueness of the work is the brilliance of the surprise. Airport meetings, commuter bus fucks, Speak East Taverns, bitter circus, and, right in the mix, the sweet fragility of lives lived with love (absolved of nothing but trying):

                i take her hand, kiss her,
                make her blush with a particular
                whisper, one have that
                is only for her…
It took several readings before I finished the collection. I had to stop, absorb, and bandage a few new bruises. Anybody can write about someone else, anybody can even write about themselves, dancing along surfaces filled with imagery and amusement. I was overcome with the journey into self, which shoved me, hard, into myself.

This is a book you need to hold in your hands, feel the weight of the man who lives within; it is not an e-book or a kindle or a flickering screen. I am going to do that wearing a little less body armor and a deeper understanding of why we do this at all.
Maybe somewhere there is still “a bookstore on Bleecker Street” and we can celebrate as Jack does:
               on Sunday we went to a cathedral,
               ate church in the back row,
               sang songs by the Ramones
               when everybody knelt to pray…

- Puma Perl
, Belinda and her Friends (Erbacce Press)

"If all the drug deals, pawnshop exchanges, and alley-way beatitudes could find their confessional booth, With The Patience of Monuments might be the stenographer's transcript. This book is not for the innocent, unless it is their time for initiation. Herein you will find an infested wooden rollercoaster tempting tragedies, the eyes of New Orleans' gargoyles always watching, the light at the end of a sewer tunnel, a priest shooting dope. In his intro, Jack Henry, responding to the fact that his editor called his book "religious" or "spiritual", plaintively states, "'s a tax write-off and I can piss off another priest." However, in one poem, Jack Henry states that he does not piss on "the back walls of a sacred place." The sacred erupts within the profane in this collection, and vice versa, but both are respected by a poet who does not write, by his own admittance, to get into heaven or into hell, or to get out of either one of them."  

- Joe Milford
, poet/writer, host, the joe milford radio show


"Many contemporary poets appear to hide behind the façade of “poetic language”, using this subjective brand of tongue to provide abundance of unnecessary metaphor and to conjure within the reader a brand of reality irrelevant to the rising actuality enveloping absolute existence. Jack Henry is no such poet. His language reveals a reality based on the existential definition of self-made milieu, providing avenues of his visited and revisited happenstance to be italicized in an antiquated world of the quotidian humdrum. “With the Patience of Monuments” declares that this poet is a being of awareness, aware of core human emotions, both the delightful and scornful, and excavates even further an emotional read from those interlocking their vision with the images ascending from the page: “i no longer move / when your words / cry, when your squalor / rises and steals your breath, / when the abyss bridges / front to back and lies / become the fodder / of a morning meal.

This collection will become a grand standard of poetry for subsequent poets wishing to attach to humans’ proclaimed universal emotions, and thus, defining itself within the conceptual reality that Henry acts as a reflectional base of an utmost observer of the human condition."

- Felino Soriano, Apperceptions of Reinterpretations (Calliope Nerve Media)

"jack henry's large heart, a veteran of wars, accidents, fears, madness, disillusion, is, in these 80 different dance halls of image and sound, breaking invisible bread with jesus as the latter downs his meds with shots of tequila, while on the corner of 6th and Los Angeles streets the meteor of hope has crashed into Obama's tag team and the churches of the sky are rolling across clouds of Charlie Parker's smoke.

jack henry is a knight, vassal, cowboy, dancer, fortune teller who sometimes can't find his crystal ball, but eventually discovers his eyes, ears, and heart are more powerful than atomic weapons and paranoia.

the guards of everything may feel they know his name, but there are rooms inside his music that they will never be able to access. if castles do fall in each pause, motion, which is jack's nickname, builds a new front porch made of sway, and dreams that are matinees in old theaters suddenly become crisp new lucid prints forever being viewed in the moment of our attempted lives.

jack henry finally is an ongoing process and this collection of visions, memory, hope, pain, and kickass music, will see you through to your own morning where little birds sing and ring with great enthusiasm, and the dead woman in the corner of a rich man's eyes will ride again across the landscape of jack's saxophone."  

- Scott Wannberg, Strange Movie Full of Death, (Perceval Press)

“Jack Henry’s poetry is very much engaged with life and not scared to address issues that many of us prefer not to talk about. Many of the poems bring us encounters with people who are often overlooked by poets. There are many poems here about Los Angeles, its bookshops and pawn shops, churches, liquor stores and rivers. Poems about family, love lost and re-found, connections made, addiction, need and unemployment, US and world politics. He is sometimes angry, as in three lines in:

                perhaps if you buried

                into a mound of

                red ants you might understand

though he can also be lyrical as in N’Orleans mornings:

                houses where ghosts
                play cards and remember
                through trees whispering
                on forgotten wind
                Spanish moss plays
                gentle tricks on my thoughts

A lot of the poems are full of rich detail such as the bookstore on Bleeker Street:

                she had a one-eyed cat
                with a bent tail and Tourettes syndrome
                that ate tuna from the can and
                old artichoke hearts on a chipped plate
Jesus appears in many of these poems, and in Jesus of Los Angeles has his own series of poems and he could be anyone, which is of course the point.

This is not poetry for those of a nervous disposition or those who are easily offended but I can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone else.

- Juliet Wilson, poet/writer/editor, Bolts of Silk

" If you know the work of Jack Henry, then there is no point me trying to sound intelligent with a fancy ass review of his new full length book—with the Patience of Monuments because you will buy it anyway, and if you don’t know Jack’s poetry—the question is why not?  

I will say I read through 137 pages of insight and passion set to the page as poetry. The only thing better would have been to hear him read it. I can’t put a finger on a favorite, there are too many. And with the diversity of this collected work, it may just depend on the mood of the reader at any given time. This is the kind of book I will pick up and discover something new with each read. So, pulling out a quote or two to illustrate his talent would be an injustice to the rest of the book.  

- Scot Young
, poet/writer/editor, Outsider Writers/Rusty Truck/Deuce Coupe -

"With the patience of monuments", Jack Henry takes his unique style and propels it skywards. To read him, is to read a life lived with all its softness and all its brutalities. Raging truth in verse that steeps is a hallmark, as is the casually epic:

                "a single note destroyed me
                 As easily as Hitler destroyed Europe"

from Em or F# on a slide trombone.

His descriptions can be lush and seductive as in N’orleans mornings:
                "Spanish moss plays
                 gentle tricks
                 on my thoughts
                 you, me velvet kisses
                 stolen before gargoyle
                 eyes where my hands rest
                 gentle upon supple curve
                 linger through moments …"

But suddenly we are pushed out of the doors of a seducing dreamscape:

                "she’s alive and screaming"

As the author acknowledges in the forward, the struggle with religious-spiritualism is a linchpin of the collection. In sublimation he explores historic social stereotypes and landmark discrimination in describing a 50’s suburban housewife, a black man working as a porter, circa 1963, and a gay man cuffed at Stonewall, there is one more ‘sublimation’:

                "i am Christ on the cross, wind in my hair

                 women at my feet, crying and chanting, waiting on a spear of
                a Roman soldier, watching the sun drift across the sky, waiting
                 for eternity, wondering if returning might not be an option,
                 wishing I had taken more time, but knowing that destiny is not mine
                nor will it be."

This may well be the quintessential image of this stunning collection. Beautiful verse philosophically ruminations on meaning as seen through the eyes of a knowing, weathered self. This is a richness that pours like aged bourbon, burning and coating as it slides down into your very core.  

- Connie Stadler, Paper Cuts (Calliope Nerve)    

"Jack Henry steps beyond the page in his newest collection of poetry. In the forward to with the patience of monuments he speaks of the thread that holds the book together, and in his poems he is Christ and Pilate and the spear thrust between his own ribs all at once. In one of the first poems of the collection he claims “…i’m no Ezra Pound” but he comes close poem after poem. In the poem “three lines in” I can almost hear him screaming the lines at his computer screen after another failed attempted to mimic rhyme schemes and pastural verse has found its way into his inbox or onto his bookshelf for approval. The love poems hidden in the pages of this collection are a kiss full of sour-mash and cigarettes that linger on your lips long after the cover is closed. These poems are a desert fairytale, a siren’s song, a bum’s final words, a whore’s spread legs, a discarded needle, a lie whispered in the dark. These poems a reminder of my own addictions."

- Gail Kelley, poet/writer

"Jack Henry writes with a measured authority. It’s about time that this authority stretched itself across a large body of work. Writing like this comes along infrequently and that, makes it all the more valuable. Henry writes at times like a driven machine, pumping the right words out at the right times and in the right order. What is it that they say about the best poetry being the best words in the best order…?"

- Dr. Andrew Taylor, co-editor and publisher, erbacce and erbacce-press    

"Jack Henry has hit a nerve, a human one that runs through all of us whether we like it or not. Henry Miller once wrote that the only journey worth taking was the one that goes inside, that delves into our own nasty miasma and pokes, prods, reveals who we really are. Jack goes there. There is so much humanity in most of his poems that it is hard to read in one sitting, rather, a reader needs to fill the double shot-glass with Jack, swig him down, let him blur the vision and pump the gonads, then go back for more. His plain verse and honest expressions are part of a building wave in the poetic world, the real crashing over the effete, the brutal sawing at the pretend, and Jack is right there, the biting end of that tsunami. If you are writhing in your own barbed wire and want company, buy the book. We can all twist together."

- David E. Oprava, publisher, Grievous Jones

“Jack Henry’s poetic voice speaks here again with mastery and precision. The poems in this collection are raw and powerful, probably dangerous. They resist neutering and do not bow to the whorish gods of psychological profit and normalization that the feeble seek in their therapy, their “poetry.” These poems will cut you, then rifle through your wallet. But they will also reveal vulnerability and humanity while so doing. This is a book you need.”  

- David McLean, Hellbound (Epic Rites Press), A Hunger for Mourning (Erbacce Press), Poems Against Enlightenment, La Morte Vivante (Shadow Archer Pres), Of Dead Snakes, Rain Over Bouville nobody wants to go to heaven but everybody wants to die (Poptritus Press), Cadaver's Dance, (Whistling Shade Press), Pushing Lemmings