"At The Mar Vista Public Library"
the ponytail blonde in the banana sweater & black leggings
floats in some fiction world she belongs in
then asks the librarian a question I cannot hear
she shrugs when she speaks
she figure-skates her slow, shelved glissando
(fantasia of the no-talking zone)
I am writing this poem when
she shoots past my table
with a green hardcover book–
I did not catch the title
or ask for her name
so I am left with
only my words:
I find harder
& harder to
"Guys Who Lie About Being Terminally Ill"
Of all the things to want and never–
death, a cardboard box of pity and riches,
crosses the ocean in a FedEx plane
from a foreign world for you.
It’s the thinning–
no one disbelieves
your supposed withering.
With skull under scalpel,
tell me your scars.
That’s where the recovery begins.
i know it's the other way around
but i see the dogs in people
that intense hunger of waiting
by a wooden door so close to the thrust of opening
i want to eat the walls that keep you away
the doorknob you twist to leave
the blankets you always hide beneath
i hold my waste for hours
the measured discipline
when you speak your breath is memory
what you’ve consumed
i can’t look anywhere else
push me away i cling to you a vestige
of humanity is all remains the last living thing
who would love me
you and your bureaucratic affection
the withholding of every emotion
makes you vulnerable
i was born to want you by my side
like a star holds to gravity
before its collapse
some adherence to light
before the drift
the absolute zero of desire
far from the wild where
we were raised to want
close to where we want to be
James Croal Jackson is a writer, musician, and occasional filmmaker whose work in film and TV in Los Angeles led to a rediscovery of his love of poetry. His poems have appeared in magazines including The Bitter Oleander, Lines+Stars, and Columbia College Literary Review. He is the winner of the 2016 William Redding Memorial Poetry Prize via The Poetry Forum. He lives in Columbus, Ohio. Visit him at jimjakk.com.