How sweet it is to drink too much coffee
and smoke under the manic flatness of streetlamps
while cars drive by and police choppers float
overhead. I wonder if it matters
who's on the pill, or who's taking Prozac
because they can't stop staring at bridges.
Last night I slept in the library, where I could see
drunk students wandering along the quad,
laughing, tripping on boards and empty cans.
I wanted to hear what they were saying. I wanted
to follow them home and listen as they drunk-dialed
exes and slurred pleas for them to come over,
maybe catching dial tones, maybe having clumsy sex
they wouldn't remember.
Sometimes I think we're kidding ourselves when we say
we know what we want, or whom we'd like to fuck,
or how many times we've been talked down from rooftops
by loved ones. How lonely it is on the freeways
where everyone is in sight of each other but so awfully
out of touch. How strange to see friends with razor scars
and tattoos under their clothes. It doesn't matter.
I can fall in love on the metro or on the moon
and I'll just end up on this same dusty corner, blowing smoke
on strangers as they walk and keep walking away.
About the author:
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, Bluestem, Jersey Devil Press, Vayavya, Sundog Lit, Atticus Review, and elsewhere, and has received multiple USC Provost's Fellowships for his poetry. He leads a workshop on Skid Row and has a nice photo here.