I’ve been stepping on nails and cutting across streets
waiting for some errant driver to run me down.
At parties I’ve been chain-smoking in the bathroom
and outlining my eyes in black ink so no one
will talk to me. I don’t know why but
I’m trying to leap into my grave
fifty years early, my fingers shaky
like they’re stuck in invisible blenders.
I’ve been stealing books from libraries
and staring down strangers on South Central trains.
These are chronicles of spliff nights and headache days
along sun-bleached blocks stretching out
like ribs drowned in sand. Now that I’m alone
I can grow out my beard and kiss beautiful strangers
but I probably won’t. Instead I’ll make up words
and spit off my balcony until someone tells me to stop.
Jackson Burgess studies at the University of Southern California, where he is Editor in Chief of Fractal Literary Magazine. Jackson has placed work in The Monarch Review, Gravel, Vayavya, Tin House Flash Fridays, and elsewhere, and has received fellowships from USC. He leads a poetry workshop on Skid Row and lives at jacksonburgess.com.