William Taylor Jr.

The Dreams of Billboards

And when your time comes,
whether it’s five minutes from now
or forty years,
and whether you’re letting go your last frail breath
from a sad bed in some old folks’ hell,
or crumpled on your kitchen floor grasping
for something to save you,
or maybe broken on a dirty sidewalk
in some foreign town,
surrounded by dumb
and useless faces –
however it happens, you’ll finally
be struck by the perfect
uselessness of it all,
and you’ll regret every day wasted
in the service of the dreams of billboards,
every hour spent in the way someone
told you it should be spent.
Ultimately, as you slip
back to your place in the void,
you’ll curse the moment
you bought into the lie of
getting shit done,
and even all the books
and the poems will seem
All you’ll wish for
is time enough
for a little more music,
maybe while enjoying
a bottle of something good,
one more day wandering the city
doing nothing in particular,
desperately wondering
if there’s some kind of last-second
deal you could make with whomever
is in charge of such matters
that would let you go back
and say that one thing
you’d always


William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including The New York Quarterly, The Chiron Review, and Catamaran Literary Reader. He is the author of numerous books of poetry and An Age of Monsters, a collection of short fiction. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award.