Issue Two,

Autumn 2020

STREET LIFE

James Croal Jackson

Poetry

Coca-Cola Commercial

So if I live a modest life I won’t know what it means

when the pipes burst or the banks bust. Either means

money I don’t have. Meat the Earth has. I’ve wanted

to travel but I know airplane fuel results in polar bears

dying on dry soil. Think Coca-Cola commercials with

the Arctic night preternaturally night. No snow, no

snow, and after airtime you crave Coke.

Dieback

At Kelly’s, in the chokehold of August humidity,

we drink a pitcher of water before noticing–

like a brain of gum underneath a support–

a cigarette butt lodged at the bottom.

When we show our server, she shouts fucking

savages! This is why we can’t keep anything

outside. I tell my partner, if it makes you feel

better, it’s what we can’t see in the water

that will kill us. We get a free beer but, for

once, we’re aware of the toxin. It doesn’t matter,

though, being thirty-one with thirty-one years

to go. Twenty-fifty is when we will see

the clouds ignite. She says I want to say

we’ll be okay but I know there’s no way.

The Amazon’s in flames and hordes of

whales wash up on California’s plastic

shores. The water wars are coming from

actions of fascists and– the next day,

at the office, a narcissist colleague

sticks his dead cigarette into the soil of

one of our tomato plants on the balcony

outside the front door and he must think–

oh, as we find it cooling at sunset–

he thinks there will be no consequences.

QUINCE magazine

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.