the context of silence

there is
the serene silence
of peace
gently broken by the sound
of a bird

the sobering silence
of anger
that forms in the echo
of a slammed door

then there is
the soulful silence
of lovers lying side-by-side

the singular silence
of a man
alone with his thoughts

the silence of a friend
waving goodbye from the window
of a train

the silence of enemies
standing on either side
of a line in the sand

the silence of a hawk
in flight

of the sun
the stars
and the moon in the sky

of a stopped clock
of a flower unfolding

the silence just before
the film begins

of paint drying on canvas
of lips moving in prayer

the silence that occurs
before the wind
that arrives ahead of the storm

the silence between
the final vibration of a violin
and the applause of the crowd

the silence of

distinct from
the silence
of a smile

the silence
of the color blue

or the silence
we choose

and of the thousand thousand silences
the most powerful silence of all the silences
is the silence
of silence

(D James)

why doesn’t matter

the rain doesn’t ask
why it falls

the sun doesn’t ask
why it shines

the tree doesn’t ask
why it leaves

in all the world
asks why

except us

because we think
what we think

and it does
but only to us

so what if
we let our thoughts
fall away like rain

what if
we shined like the sun

what if
we let our false-selves go
like leaves from a tree

what if
we stopped asking

what if
we just admit
we don’t know
and never will

and what if
we didn’t
make it mean anything

(D James)

life in 75 words

for something
to happen

like life
or something similar

to be free
from fear

or at least
push through

to take action

but bored with
the supposed options

by the thoughts
of past failures

though there’s nothing
to be done about them now

hard work
and difficult

I’ll write
and smoke cigarettes
make a life
out of words

because in the end
that’s all any of us
really have

(D James)

letting go of yesterday

woke up this morning
in yesterday’s undone

as if under a pile of stones
at the bottom of the ocean

dragging my head
out of bed
caught up in a web
of thinking about
broken promises
and all the
“should haves”
that I didn’t

and today looks like
another repeat of that show
with the same commercial breaks

“and now a word from our sponsor –
are you tired, listless, rundown?
need something to pick you up?”


what’s needed is to let go
be ok with right now
do what can be done
leave yesterday in yesterday
and make today anew

(D James)

day’s end

buildings so high
they reach
beyond the sky

and everywhere are sounds
and smells
and crowds

densely packed trains
rumble the ground
carrying the millions
under the river

bursting from the depths
on the other side

the blinding sun
sinking behind the skyline

there is nowhere quite like here
though some people will tell you otherwise

but this city can crush you
or make you
like no other

and once you’ve experienced it
whether for a day
or the rest of your life

you can never
forget it

(D James)

wordless languages for all the tomorrows

what can be said
that hasn’t been heard

what can be written
that we haven’t
already read

how can we move forward
with the same worn out words

where is the language
to speak what we cannot hearĀ 
write what hasn’t been read
and bring us through this day
and all the ones that follow

(D James)

these are the days

I remember when
you had to buy tokens
to ride the subway

and phone calls
were a dime
if you could find
a pay phone that worked

I remember when cabs
wouldn’t leave Manhattan
for the other boroughs
and street lights
were few

I remember when
computers were so big
they had rooms
of their own
and no one
had one at home

I remember when
you had to make the bank
by 3 pm
and never missed
a Friday visit to the teller
or you were without cash
all weekend
and people wrote checks
bought stamps
and mailed their bills

and if this
were written then
I wouldn’t be able
to share it with you

(D James)

knowing this won’t get you here

what’s it like?
what’s it feel like?

what it is

so we talk about

as if a description
of a thing
is the thing

this isn’t how I feel
these are the thoughts
about how I feel

on a theme

of an approximation

but what is it
moment by moment
this thing we call

I don’t know
but I can tell you
about it

for hours
and get nowhere

or instead
keep silent
find the moment
in the moment

because it’s happening
it’s always happening
even when we’re struggling
to understand
or explain it

it’s happening
right now
whether we’re aware
or not
whether we understand
or not
whether we agree
or not

it’s happening
even when we’re
not here

(D James)