how do you do that?

this thing
that runs through my heart
like a freight train

knocks me down
and lifts me up
at the same time

brings me joy
and reminds me
to stay open
be vulnerable

this thing
unnameable
random
vast
deep

it knows no bounds
reaches deep inside
blows me away
scatters the pieces
to the darkest edges
of the universe

and somehow
makes me whole
again

how do you do that?

(D James)

until the dawn

it is the nights
that are most difficult

waiting
wanting

for the morning
that brings your voice

it is the nights
that are long

sleepless
restless​

hoping for a world
where 1+1=1

it is the nights
it is the nights
it is the nights

when darkness
grips my heart

renders me incapable

until the dawn
returns you to me

d. james

Up All Night Waiting For Something That Never Comes

it’s not that I can’t sleep
it’s that I don’t want to

an old habit
one that’s returned
with age

like a child
overtired
afraid I might
miss something

the city at rest
a cloud moving across the night sky
a song on the radio
or mother’s return

I stay up
waiting for the sun
waiting for something
to happen

until I’m too tired
to be tired

then I’ll go to sleep

(D. James)

the mouse runs on the wheel going forward and getting nowhere

must do
must always do

be doing
or be dead

action
moves the world
no time for anything
other than the doing

the being
is busy

busy
being busy
with all the doing

rushing
to the end
gold watch
and a monthly check
then a trip to eternity

never wondering
until it’s too late
where all this busy business
really gets us

(D James)

How To Explain Nothing And Everything All At Once

it’s become apparent
that my beliefs
belong to others

every thought
each action
triggered
by a past experience
something I’ve read
heard
or seen

there is nothing original
in being a non-conformist
for even that now
is simply conforming to non-conformity

this too does not originate
from me but from another

so perhaps it is not
in ideas
or language

that we are unique

it must be
in that other place
beyond words
beyond the edge of our skin
out in the far reaches
where what’s in the skull
is quiet for a moment

where we connect
with all that is
all that ever was
or ever will be

with the all of all

(D James)

Here In The Shadows

there are things I’ve done
that I would never tell

things I’ve said
I want to unsay

things I’ve seen
that do not disappear
by closing my eyes

thoughts
that cannot be unthought

rationalized
justified
explained away

apparently
you know what
I mean

because here
in the shadows
they say everyone
is hiding something

(D James)

Standing Still As The Breeze Moves The Sky

watching the light change
from red to black

focused on the petty pace
of meaningless
routine

thoughts dissolve
as they move
like radio signals
to the vast reaches
of the universe

and suddenly my worries
seem as nothing
against the majestic backdrop

the city in twilight
from a rooftop

(D James)

If It All Works Out In The End, Isn’t It All Working Out Now?

had a dream
that it all worked out
all of it

money
happiness
life

had a reality
that it all worked out

all of it

then I woke
into a place
where none of it matters

and realized my search
was complete
and so am I

(D James)

In The Quiet Beyond The Edge Of The Universe

my hand cut the sky
making the rain fall

my eyes saw the deepening darkness
which stopped my heart

pretending to be something
made of stronger stuff
waiting out the storm

I travelled a hundred hundred miles
in just under a thousand years

and ended up where I began
forsaken
forgiven
forever

in the quiet

(D James)

Wish I Was Here With You

wishing for another time
wanting to be here with you
or at least be here at all

wishing for another place
where I could say
that which cannot
which will not
be expressed

wishing like wanting
like trying to wash away
years of shame and neglect
with a cup of cold dishwater

then finally
knowing wishing doesn’t make it so
I see there is work to be done

(D James)

I May Be At This Awhile

I had a feeling
of wanting to move
to run
to shout at the ground
that would not move

it did not answer

looked up at the stars
and explained to them
what I was after

they did not respond

went to the roof
and shook my fist
at the night sky
screamed until my voice
fell to the sidewalk

the universe
did not care

I sat down
closed my eyes
and was silent

vowing to stay
until the senseless
makes sense
until the feeling to run
out of my own skin
subsides

I am silent
still

(D James)

Being You

they said
be careful
don’t get hurt

you didn’t listen

they said
it’s too risky
you’ll be sorry

you didn’t listen

they said
things they didn’t even believe
to keep you close, keep you in place, “don’t leave”

you didn’t listen then
and you still won’t now

so let them say
what they will

and you keep being you

(D James)

final destination

assumptions made
plans set
though no one
told you

the day arrives
car all packed
you ride off
not knowing
where you’re going

the road stretches on
for years

stopping occasionally
in one town or the other

you sometimes wonder
how you will know
when you’ve arrived

(D. James)

waiting out winter

once more
the low sky fills
with gray tones

the trees seem
as dead spiders

and all waits
the coming storm

the last of winter
holding fast

the past week’s
glimpse of spring
caressed our spirits

so we’ll make use of
today

finding the summer
in our hearts

for it is not yet
outside the window

(D. James)

just like the movies

every movie
ends the same

fade to black
roll credits

people file out
of the theater
thinking about
the experience

every life
ends the same

fade to black
roll credits

people file out
of the funeral home
thinking about
the experience

what matters
are the memories
of the life lived

(D James)

learning to ride a bicycle

a man lay in bed

last days
he knows

dying from the struggle
to live

the nurse
does what she can
to make it easier

through the morphine
induced fog
a moment of clarity

he says

“I never learned
to ride a bike”

too late now
she knows

too late now

(D James)

suite for frustration in D minor

stuck
in a one horse town
that is the dark matter
of the mind

worrying the night
like an old string of beads

cold wind
blows darkness around

til the dawn
which
brings no warmth
or understanding

just another prelude
to another night

and on and on
until the ride stops

(D James)

morning luck

long shadows
rush around
in straight lines

bundled against
the early morning sun
that gives off light
but little heat

another day
for the many lucky enough
to have made it through the night

yet who among us
thinks of the new day that way
before the first cup of coffee
if at all

(D. James)

certainty

a state of being
closed off to other
possible outcomes

a place of right
might
fight

where trouble lurks
and there is no soul

a safe place
where one finds
simplistic comfort

only in its opposite
is there any hope
or chance of stumbling
upon the world as it is
and not as we want it to be

(D James)

it cannot be new and improved

rummaging around the ruins
of a failed system
with nothing left to buy
and even less to sell

worrying about the weather
and the dow jones industrial index
as if it matters to our souls
and whether they can still be saved

these fallible indicators
are not merely implausible
but are “out of time”

when false gods
ruled through commerce
and promises of a better life
the buying and selling
of currencies currency

ultimately believing in a technology
that would deliver us from evil

we can only hope
there be nothing left
after the final fall

giving us a clean slate
like a blackboard
with the remnants of the old methods
and now dead ideas
floating
as chalk dust in sunlight

then
finally
we can begin
as sentient beings
neither to be bought or sold
but simply to be
in the world

(D James)