Thursday, 21 September 2017


by Lorri Jackson

Be sure to have enough
friends w/ spare sofas
wake up, quietly put on
the same T-shirt
worn 7 days consecutively
and smellin quite like you
creep out into the mornin
the bones in the bottom
of yer feet and knees
are still achin
from walkin the day before
so head to yer fave diner
where a bowl of soup is less
than a dollar
drink 7 cups of coffee
and the mornin is spent
pick up yer bags
and walk slowly
no sense in hurryin now
sit on a bus bench for a while
and talk a long time
about jesus to the woman
next to you
or the black man in the alley
who says he used to play percussion
with the rollin stones
drink beer on a park bench
if someone else buys it
go back to the diner for more coffee
yer calves ache
and yer knees ache
and the small of yer back aches
and yer belly aches
and yer lungs ache
and yer arms ache
and yer heart aches
ride the train to the end
of the line a couple of times
and if you have the money
see a double B feature
and if it’s rainin
read a book in the library
it’s evenin now
and too cold to sleep in the park
go to a bar
and try to meet a nice man
make sure it’s dark enough
he can’t tell how shabby yer clothes are
maybe he has his own apartment
and a well stocked refrigerator
and he doesn’t have a girlfriend
a sweetheart, a wife
show him yer dimples
even if it hurts
the scars on yer heart
and the bottom of yer feet
when the sun comes up
put on yesterday’s T-shirt
worn 8 days consecutively
yer crusty socks and stuffed boots
creep out into the mornin
the bones in the bottom
of yer feet are still achin
a cupa soup is less
than a dollar
write a letter to yer grandma
while yer waitin for the bus
you never get on
tell her yer fine
and not to worry
but don’t tell her the worst part
of livin day to day
is not havin a place to cry in privacy
don’t tell her the greyhound urinals
suffice for now
don’t tell her the bones
in the bottom of yer feet
ache like you were a hundred years old
just tell yer grandma
yer doin fine

* * * * *

"Things To Do When You Have No Home" is from So What If It's True: From the Notebooks of Lorri Jackson, edited by RW Spryszak and published by Thrice Publishing 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.

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