We’re guarded by lunatics.

They leave our doors open,

sometimes forgetting to lock us in,

keep us down for the night,

and we slip out into their

employment offices, their brothels,

liquor stores and churches,

and find ourselves right back again,

back in the asylum.

They keep us sedated with Hope,

doped up on Promises

– we’ll never make it –

but we hope we’ll at least see

the shore before we drown in the ocean.

In the yard we converse over flowers

with other inmates, people who’ve seen

the world how we see it, felt the

way that we’ve felt,

and despair,

longing for something unusual.

It never comes.

No rest for the wicked that’s why they’re in shape.

Another cup of coffee.

Another cigarette.

One step closer to placation

– servility –

or two steps back toward liberation.

The bars get closer.

Voices get louder, more demanding.

Another sip.

Another smoke.

Captors and captives both drink from the

same bottle but digest it differently.


bake sales,


marriage –

all terrorists.

One of us got out of here.

Down the cell-block from me.

Was a good guy but eventually gave in,

the poverty of unsolicited potential got to be too much for him.

He was broke and the government

wasn’t trying to fix him.

So he played it off.

Forsook his individuality in practice and actuality.

Became one of them –



Others played it off well too but always ended up back

here – eventually they opened their mouth.

But I’m sure he’s still out there,


waiting for it to be Friday.


William D. Jackson III was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He’s given readings around L.A. at places like The Goethe Institut, Chung King Road in Chinatown, and Lawrence Asher Gallery. He’s been published in Gambling the Aisle, Papercuts, Tenement Block Review (U.K.), RipRap, and Ginyu Magazine (Japan).