Wednesday 20 September 2017


by Lorri Jackson

shed the remnants of the day
the hard bright sun, the grilling heat
blast of a hell ladened year. It is
summer, my friend, are you surfing
as you read this? I am thinking
about you: off go
my shoes, my shirt,
panties. i’ve already smoked
some hash, and eaten a big
meal of noodles, raw cucumbers
feta cheese on the side. see, i am
trying to take care of myself.
and get this; when i can remember
i take vitamins in the morning
to ward off the demons
of yeast infections, fleas, garbage
flies, cotchrot, toto. too much
pestilence leads to thoughts
of retribution. too much
of the white stuff and i am really
starting to hear detectives at the door.
funny, when i was a kid it was
angels. so between the falls
i am really trying
to get up consistently and not feel
like shit. ‘mortality
is reality. and graveyards
a reminder.’ to quote
my own damned self

3:30 this afternoon and it’s 100 degrees
plus, and i’m walking around in a black
dress. sweat pours in rivets, riverlets
rivelets. i think of blanche
dubois and other southern fried graces
sure, i’d like a slow gin fizz, right now
no fan is gonna blow
this grit from my skin
no north wind is gonna breeze
in from the cool sea
one thousand to lick the bottom
of my shoe sucker
the rican boyos in the neighborhood love
the tattoos, something to do with
gangs, prisons, promises
muerto the man with brown bags and
a demon dog with the face of a rat
he did it to himself, in ‘college’
as they like to call the penitentiary
with a stereo needle and an electric razor
              YOUR ARM LIKE DAT
Papo whispers to me JUS TELLEM DATS YORE OLE

now, though, like i said
i’ve been trying to take care of myself
layin low. ‘chillin’ as george says.
he’s the reason i had to get off the phone
and we weren’t doing what my sigh implied; instead
just as i say hello he pulls out
this well over a gram bag singing
no blow no show. suddenly i got the blues
and i can’t help my skin
starts to itch and my asshole stricts up
you feel like the bottoms gonna drop out
and you grin seemingly against your will
and you get this urge to fall
to your knees

so we sat on the back porch and listened
to the el and the alley cats, eyes buggin out
drinkin liquids like crazy
he talked about these old blues guys
from the mississippi delta who sold their souls
to the devil to play with all their heart
how do you know, i ask, blasting

sometimes i feel
i just gotta jump
i don’t like this life right now
i don’t like where it’s going
because it’s going nowhere
all this shuffling from place to place
is pointless, all
this drifting leaves a sticky film
clinging to my memory. i need
to sit and sort out all my lives

this life; cancer of bad memories, want
of revenge, CUT IT OUT, make it clean...

have i complained about the heat and humidity yet?
drains a person, i feel so ill
chewed my lips to pieces yesterday wondering
why i haven’t started bleeding yet
only to discover i miscalculated by a week
everything is dream to me i don’t punish
my nightmares for being nightmares. i love
them too
(i hear my paranoias before i see them
when i was a kid my dad used to call me
cornhead because i had big ears)

the next probable cause of this everyday
nausea bloat is disease. DISease, rotting female
parts, dave the tattoo man says
or you’ll give yourself tumors
pessimistic or realistic, that is
the question. at least
i’m still walking

because really, the underlying reason for every ache
and pain is not the devil shorn spit of frolicking
on the wrong side, paying for excess thru body
malfunctions but is really the very quickly deteriorating
OZONE LAYER. that’s why it’s so incredibly hot.
i remember the twilight zone
i’ve read jg ballard
so can we expect every summer to be as nasty
100 degrees by 10 o’clock
it’s the heat that drags you down
sweat drips, it’s the cause
of the clogged sinus, the numbed left
big toe, the pinched nerves in my back, the way
my legs feel so heavy sometimes
i’m not so sure
i wanna walk – see, i’m doing alright
with this life, grand in its own way
so that big blue minnesota sky
with a lone kite and the distant rumble
of a young boy’s dirtbike
that i keep looking for
on el platforms, walking down milwaukee avenue
always looking for in sunsets, flashing lights
crooked lines, that something
that is always bright, new, inspiring

* * * * *

"Letter to Dawn" is from So What If It's True: From theNotebooks of Lorri Jackson, edited by RW Spryszak and published by Thrice Publishing in 2017.

Lorri Jackson died in 1990 at the age of 28. She suffocated after injecting heroin. Some of her powerful work survives and tells her grimy truth without obvious complaint but with merciless accuracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment