Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Have Learned

I have learned
A man can sleep beside someone
And be utterly alone.

I have learned
You can shave a face
For sixty years
And not know
The man in the mirror.

I have learned
What touches the soul
Must touch the body
But what touches the body
Need not touch the soul.

I have learned
That true satisfaction
Is often wordless.

I have learned
The higher I sit
The further down I look.

I have learned
That music of the soul
May be tuneless.

I have learned
That the man
Who is your friend
Need not tell you he is.

I have learned
That the summation of life
Is always too early reckoned.

I have learned
The darkest clouds
Sometimes contain
The least rain.

I have learned
The best love-making
Is usually less energetic
And endures everlastingly.

I have learned
My best wisdom
And keenest insight
Was learned in childhood.

I have learned
The deepest
Most profound misery
Was inflicted
With a dull blade.

And I have learned
That nothing I have learned
Is final and absolute.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Diner

In morning life
The Diner thrums.

In sensory mosaics
Aromas mingle
Into amazements
Of coffee
Eggs and buttery toast.

An auditory feast
Of clinking dinnerware
And conversations
Then lulling
To crest again
The way the surf casts itself
Onto tens of thousands of beaches.
To recede again.

Eyes rejoice in prisms of color
Brightened by morning light
Filtering through high clouds
And filmy café windows
Washing across a kaleidoscope
Of patron’s shirts and caps
And the hurry of servers
Lofting plates and pots
Like circus performers
Above their heads.

Tangled into a corner booth
Order taken
I watch faces
And the quick movement
Of fingers hooked through cup holds
Of mouths hurriedly chewing breakfasts
Of waitresses and busboys
Of the leaving of dollar tips
And the jovial cashier
Making change and jokes
The retrieval of caps
Purses and coats
Feeling the cool autumnal air
Invade the inner warmth
As the glass door admits new
Hungry morning crowds.

I come to the diner
To immerse
Into lives
Webbed temporarily
By a common need:
The fellowship of food
The blending of motion
Splashes of living paint
And cacophony of noises
Fixed to a menu
Beyond that listed on paper.

It is a conurbation of hurry
Electrons of diners
A nucleus of victuals.

It is drama and comedy
Stewed and steamed
Into early morning delights.

All this
And coffee too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The sea and moon
Like midnight lovers
In filigree foam
Like tangled sheets
Glistening bodies.

On my back
Eyes star-ward
I listen
To the passion
In the great ebony deep.

Later I dream.

The voice of the sea
Murmurs wantonly
Becoming her voice
Words half-said
Sentences ill-formed
Knowing I understand
Even before her thoughts
Her desires
Fully express.

I match the tossing
Of the surf
Alone in my bed.

Wash ashore
Like small shells
Tumbling across sands.

In day’s full light
I struggle to remember
My dark dream.

She was here.
Her scent lingers
In the brine of day.
But the dream
The way tides
Into vague memory
Returning again
When the lunar pull
Insistently draws.

In morning’s pale shine
The moon is a pastel orb
Two hands above
The horizon.
It seems to evade the sun
In its flirtatious dance.
But the sea and moon
Will embrace again
In the roiling seas.

And I will reach
Into the night

She is forever lost
The way
Sunken galleons
Whose uncharted treasures
Are lost
In the dark
Salty deep.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Plan

Over more than half a century
I developed expectations
Of my body.

It served me well
Answering every demand

I have pushed it uphill.
I have slowed its descent.

I have withheld adequate provision.
I have supplied more than required.

I have enforced extreme hardship.
I have allowed excessive pleasures.

But it betrays me.

Like a pilotless helm
It sometimes does not answer
The rudder
Setting me adrift
In a sea of need.

I often stumble
In modest incline.
I make use of a cane
To support my stride
No longer the man
Of confident gait.

My formerly well-lubricated form
Now pops and creaks
Groans and moans
When stressed.

I must take sleeping aids
To promote proper rest.
I rise hours before dawn
At the slightest disturbance.

My appetite flags
Before generous portions.
That which effected pleasure
Now seems like work.

My face appears a dim shadow
Of the confidence it once inspired.

What am I to do?

This is my plan:
I will celebrate the capable vehicle
And powerful engine
My body once was.

But from this time forward
I believe I will take the bus.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

About & To "Nic E"...a Reader

Nic E is an amazing artist living in the UK, whose photography is incomparable. After visiting this site she made kind remarks concerning my poetry. It turns out that she is also skilled in music (No fair! Why can't I have multiple abilities?!). She has inquired about setting some of my work to music, which I enthusiastically endorse.

I encourage ya'll to visit her craft at

To Nic E...I would love to further your notion, and see what may come. Please write me at Thanks!

~ James

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oh! *

Oh, what I saw
In Omaha!
What an amazing scene
Direct from a dream!

Oh, she danced
Nearly nude.
It was rowdy
And lewd!

Oh, she made
Me blush.
She gave such
A rush!

Oh, please don’t
Tell mother
Daddy, sister
Or brother.

Oh, I’m goin’ back
Some day!
Gonna take
All my pay.

Oh, gonna give that gal
My money.
Gonna make her
My honey!

Oh, please don’t
Tell mother
Daddy, sister
Or brother.

* This fanciful, humorous ditty rises from an over-the-road trucker I knew, who loved the Omaha run for reasons beyond his pay. As you may guess, he never got the girl. Oh, but, he did loose all his money.

The Dimming Day

The forest floor slants
At the angle of the setting sun
Lengthening shadows downhill
Dappled in purples and blues.

High in the bowers
Birds of prey await their meal
Searching movement
Among downed limbs and grasses.

The very air lives
With golden gleam
As mists collect
And dew is born.

Tonight a doe and her fawn
Will make their woody bed.
Stars will soon sparkle
Like embers tossed skyward.

Come day, the eastern horizon
Will blush tangerine.
The doe and fawn will rise
And earth will hurry again.

But in this moment
A hush is collecting
And the world holds its breath
In the dimming day.

Be Still, Little Darling

A morning will dawn
You will find me gone.
A day is coming
You will be alone.

A sky will darken
And you will miss me.
A midnight’s coming
You will feel like a refugee.

Be still
Little darling.
It will be alright.
Little darling
And hold on tight.

The day still dawns
The sun will shine
Life still makes sense
It’s the masterful design.

When you think of me
Remember and sigh.
Some things continue.
Some things never die.

Be still
Little darling.
It will be alright.
Little darling
And hold on tight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lion Tamer

I keep the pain
At bay
The way a lion tamer
Holds back the beast
With the legs of a chair
And a whip.

Pain must be taunted
Made little of
Or it will flare in rage
And tear one’s heart out
With mighty paws
With roars
And fury.

The tamer of beasts
Does so
With a cavalier spirit
Daring death
With glinting eye.

I tame the pain
Because I share the lion's cage
In which there is no door
And the bars too narrow
For escape.

I take up the whip
And chair
Because not to do so
Is to bare my chest to the lion
And submit
To its cruel pleasure.

It is not
Tame or be tamed.

It is tame or perish.

He Who Discerns

Without announcement
He was beside me:
The enemy.

As much surprised by me
As I of him
We both quickly
To skirmish in mortal combat.

All combat is mortal
Unless it is immortal.

Let he who discerns understand.

There was clawing
For supremacy
There was growling
As menace
There was cursing
For bitterness.

It was brief
But it was final.

Let he who discerns understand.

At the end was exhaustion
Was the pulse of expended terror
Was the sweet knowledge I prevailed.

The victor is he who lives
To tell the tale.
But only to the few who bled
And make bleed.

Let he who discerns understand.