Wishful Thinking


Written by Jonathan Burkhalter

Illustrations by Peter Hopkins


Jonathan Burkhalter was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He earned a BA at the University of Tennessee and currently resides in New York City, where he is an MFA Candidate at Sarah Lawrence. His work has appeared in Ray's Road Review, Hooligan Magazine, Eropium, and elsewhere. Jonathan was also featured on an ACLU benefit album titled, Is There Another Language?, produced by Gezellig Records and available on Bandcamp. In addition to poetry, Jonathan has created and shown work in performance and video art, as well as with aromas. The title of the following piece is an homage to Sly & The Family Stone's song, "Wishful Thinkin'" that shares a common tone. The poem came as a result of walking around a new neighborhood and remembering neighborhoods he no longer lives in and people he no longer sees. 


Wishful Thinking

The children are in lovely neighborhoods
today where we can let them play past dark.
The dirt on their lovely knees are signs
they’ve been praying lovely prayers, just
like they were told.

The wind whirls the lovely cold night warm
& the lovely Christmas concert players
won’t be inviting us to middle schools for months.

The oranges
are rotting in that same lovely spot
by the window where the
peaches ripened last summer.

Tonight I will make lovely love with my love at west’s end

I know she’ll mean lovely when
she says lovely

I know she’ll mean me
when she says baby.

The subway is a lovely cloud taking me home.

The seats are soft and leave my
bottom wet, lovely, the ride
is smooth and lovely.

outside, strangers pass strangers in the
street acting lovely.


lovely, at my apartment,
the crowd waits for me to exit
before boarding the cloud.

a boy
jumps from a roof, lovely how he flies






Keep up more with Jonathan's work here.