Originally published in Willow Springs 85

From the author

Notes on “Medicine”

A couple Thanksgivings ago, I sat down and wrote a chapbook-length series of poems like “Medicine,” trying to work through some life circumstances that felt a bit out of my control. Since then I’ve been gradually editing them and sending them out to magazines. I liked the idea of a prose poem responding to itself through an erasure “echo,” whittling itself down until it became a self-reflexive call-and-response. I thought, “If you’re gonna feel sad and solipsistic, you should probably lean into it formally, right?” Now I’ve been thinking about the process of revising old work, trying to re-enter the emotional or mental space you were in when you wrote the initial draft, respecting that original feeling while still incorporating what you have learned or become since.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

Tom Waits and bottom-shelf whiskey feel pretty mandatory for me post-breakup—at the moment I’m revisiting The Black Rider, Waits’ and William S. Burroughs’ collaborative take on an old German Faustian tale. Love Phoebe Bridgers’ cover of “Georgia Lee” on the new Women Sing Waits album, too.
I just finished an advance copy of Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl and can’t get it out of my head. Pub date is June 9—do yourself a favor and pre-order a copy. Frazier’s the fucking truth.
I’m closely following Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, listening to old speeches from him and his surrogates (AOC, Dr. Cornel West, Killer Mike, etc.).
I spend an ungodly amount of time on YouTube. These days I think Conner O’Malley has the most unhinged and underappreciated channel on the platform. I’m also a big ASMR junkie. Anxiety’s a motherfucker, but ASMR seems to cut right through it.

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About Jackson Burgess

Jackson Portrait (Skyler)

Jackson Burgess is the author of Atrophy (Write Bloody Publishing, 2018) and the chapbook Pocket Full of Glass (Tebot Bach, 2017). He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His poetry and fiction are published or forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, The Cimarron Review, Rattle, The Cincinnati Review, PANK, Colorado Review, The Boiler Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on a novel and his second full-length collection of poems. (jacksonburgess.com)