Poetry: James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson

Don’t you want to date everyone you’ve ever known?
Here’s a way:
I’ve got a secret
admirer. So do you
& you & you & you you you you you you you.
Your heart is an information superhighway
                               you’ve followed
                                to the Pacific, at least,
                                  & swam & swam & swam
                                       to be lost in blue
                                       endless scrolling
                                       you like & wow &
                                                                     love.


Ill Pizzicato

Too tired to play a love song–
the strings on this violin must be sick.

Pizzicato, pizzicato. Pestering
the soundscape. Some days are for sitting

in bed arguing– the toilet flushes.
Your roommate must be sick

of us on the verge of breaking up and
throwing too much of ourselves against

the wall. The bang-bang-bling to distract
ourselves– we contract ourselves to another

week, at least. Then the same: four
bland walls and our muted voices

pestering the soundscape of
what we used to call Paradise.
***


West

nights of cats following cliché heartbreak
both of us single lonely ditched by friends

we smoked weed in your empty pizza
box apartment of turquoise walls I threw

myself into the cats were fighting over
string and I asked how often must we

wake up not in love you said we have
been recently while our phones lit  

our faces grim in the dark of tangled
connection I wanted you to come

to Cali with me and we went west
but you stayed in Colorado to smoke

the mountains high and higher clouds
unreachable


Tootsie Rolls

my body was destroyed
to confuse the witness

red feathers fell
in dust and dirt

I am not compatible with the moon
I kiss my mouth

diabetes has become a tooth
return to the deep pit

black in its whole


Excited for Something (After Depression)

must be the upcoming road
trip to Portland, to return

briskly in love with
someone

I haven’t seen
in years

and work on my state
in
her living room

where lamps float
sails on a lake room
***


Passed

Crushing cans in the
attic was how to subdue

days– guitar distortion
summers, apple rum

autumns. Red leaves
hued the music–

e-minor when the
wind chilled, ice

of songbirds the
loneliest way

to tell time.

***

James Croal Jackson (he/him/his) is a Filipino-American poet. He has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and recent poems in DASH, Sampsonia Way, and Pacifica. He edits The Mantle Poetry (themantlepoetry.com) and works in film production in Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com)

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