In Unreal's considered opinion, Carol A. Jackson's recently self-published Turn Gently My Pages is the most sensual book of poetry ever penned by a University City cop. Immediately after reading the verse quoted below, Unreal put in a call to the 47-year-old single author, who serves as the department's commander of the Bureau of Professional Standards, overseeing crime prevention and D.A.R.E. officers.
Can you love me enough
to make love to the total woman that I am?
Right now you have my body -- all that it is
I am bare before you
And my skin calls your name.
Unreal: Where do you get your inspiration?
Carol A. Jackson: My own personal experiences and emotions. I've been writing for twenty years.
Why did you choose Turn Gently My Pages as the title? Is that, like, a metaphor?
I chose it because the book involves so much of my own personal experiences. I consider the book to be like a treasure, or a piece of art; you can't just pick it up and turn the pages like you're reading a novel. You have to digest, meditate on the words. I totally expose myself in that book. It's very transparent and very personal. Almost an autobiography of my emotional life.
Is there a certain erotic tension that pervades the University City jail?
No. We normally only hold prisoners for twenty hours. They're there for a short time, so people don't have a chance to get comfortable.
Tell me about the poem "Let My Kiss Make Love to You." I'm not sure I understand the title.
Women are passionate. A lot of women have read these writings and say, "I wish my husband or my lover could embrace this, because a lot of times we go right to the sex and we don't kiss, and that's what I really love." [The characters in the poem] have actually made love without there being any sexual contact. Women want that passion beforehand, and heaven help us if he blows our mind with the kisses. Are you blushing? Yeah you are!
Do you ever read your poetry aloud to spark a romantic mood -- like Luther Vandross putting on one of his own records to seduce a woman?
Yes. These have all been written for someone at some point in time, and so I say, "Hey, I need to share something with you."
Do you ever read your poetry to criminals you've arrested, to calm them down?
No -- you think that would calm them down?! I don't really have that much contact with prisoners, since I'm off the street.
Which television show is more like your everyday experience, CSI: Miami or The OC?
I guess CSI. I don't do those duties, but it's what I can identify with most.
Single men, mark your calendars: Jackson signs books from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on May 3 in Blueberry Hill's piano room.
Granny's Gone Wild
When 94-year-old Granny D's camperized 1988 Ford Econoline pulled into town last week on her nationwide voter-registration drive, Unreal was there. And we're here to tell you: Watching the great-grandmother of sixteen (who's all of about four feet tall) emerge from the hallucinatorily colored van is a little like dropping acid.
The native of Dublin, New Hampshire, who also goes by the name Doris Haddock, is best known as the woman who walked across the United States in 1999-2000 to promote campaign-finance reform. This time the lazy old biddy opted for wheels, touching down in Tom's Bar and Grill's parking lot at the corner of Forest Park Parkway and Euclid Avenue.
"They said we could park here as long as we bought lunch," says Granny's custodian, Dennis Burke, a former executive director of Arizona Common Cause who met her as she walked across the Arizona desert on her previous trek.
The current campaign -- funded primarily by small donations to Granny's Web site, www.grannyd.com -- aims to hit 36 states. Starting in Boston, the group, which includes Granny, Burke and the artist who painted the mural on the side of the van, journeyed down the East Coast, spending a week here and a week there before stopping in Florida for two months to organize a few Pat Buchanan rallies.
Just kidding about that last part.
Granny reports that her success in the CWE was...moderate. "We've registered about one an hour," says the politically neutral activist, who cast her first presidential vote in 1932 for socialist Norman Thomas.
Some kernels of insight into this year's race: "The Democrats have the people; the Republicans have the money. A lot of people in this country believe that whoever raises the most money is the smartest. I don't think it will be a landslide on either side, however."
Her insight on the city of St. Louis is equally astute. "It took us an hour to find a place to get breakfast this morning," she says.
Pie in the Face
As Unreal never tires of noting (see our October 29, 2003, dispatch, for instance), it's all too fashionable to slag on St. Louis. Yeah, a recent study ranked us America's most dangerous city, and we're obviously way too fat. And yeah, the Blues, Cardinals and Rams have become roadkill on the sports superhighway. But the other day, as we were snacking on pork rinds in front of the ol' Trinitron, we got whacked upside the head with the biggest slap yet:
According to the Food Network, the best St. Louis-style pizza is to be found in....Kansas City.
You read right: The Best of, in an episode devoted to pizza joints, cites an establishment called Waldo Pizza as the nation's top purveyor of that cracker-thin, Provel-drenched delicacy so dear to Unreal's heartburn. The segment, which aired several times during the past month, is scheduled to air again on the afternoon of May 18.
What possessed the Best of crew to look for St. Louis pizza in Kansas City?
Laziness, posits Waldo owner Phil Bourne. "They were staying at the Fairmount Hotel and they were close, and it worked out pretty well logistically," the proprietor theorizes.
At least the stuff's authentic -- a St. Louisan by birth, Bourne was reared on this town's pie. When he's looking for St. Louis-style pizza in its native habitat, he says, he heads for Rossino's Pizza on Sarah Street near Saint Louis University. "They have superthin-crust pizza," the KC transplant enthuses. "It's really good." The pie man also gives the thumbs-up to Imo's, which he says "set the bar" for St. Louis-style pizza.
Bourne is sensitive to the fact that his parlor's triumph might not sit well with denizens of this side of the state. "There is a feeling in Kansas City that the people of St. Louis have a superiority complex," he observes. "They think they look down on Kansas City as the 'country cousin.' I'm sure there are people in St. Louis thinking that Kansas City can't even develop their own style of pizza."
Or frozen custard. Provel's not the only taste treat Bourne appropriated when he went west; customers at Waldo can order Ted Drewes frozen custard for dessert. They cannot, however, get their mitts on toasted ravioli.
"There is a limit to how much people of Kansas City can take," Bourne says. "I want to respect that. "