whatever you do … don’t

don’t take this
away

it’s the last
small joy
we have

like a slender shaft
of sunlight
through the basement
window

don’t take it
away

we won’t
know what
to do then

waiting,
like refugees
under a rain-soaked
tarp

hoping,
for what was
what might be

so please
don’t take it
away

they’ll be
nothing left
to say

(D. James)

before it’s too late

let’s run away
she’d say

find
a place
where they
can’t find us

let’s run away
someplace warm
where the sun
always shines

find
that spot
where time
stands still

let’s run away
before we’re too old

let’s run away
before this life
kills us

let’s run away
let’s run away
let’s run away

at least until
the morning comes

(D. James)

after the end

the power of night
the black and white

lithe and still
darkness falls

bringing the final
moment

nowhere to go
from here
but to the end

fast and painless
eyes open
but the light gone
out

those years
gathered up
then scattered
by the wind

a billion specks
of light and sound
swallowed
by darkness

then nothing

not even
the black

(D. James)

caught on a thought

like bits of paper
blown by the wind

which ones will I catch
in the net of my mind
hold onto for dear life

which ones will I let fly
laughing at what nonsense
I can come up with

what if they were all
just passing

like a small spark
or bolt of lightning

electric and fleeting
shinning a momentary light
then gone

instead of being turned
into the truth

(D. James)

over before you know it

where does it
go
the time

seems like it
used to crawl

now I lose
track
of the days

and memories
are like stories
someone once told

I’m not even
certain
I’ve not written

this poem
before

(D James)

life in the city of cities

the subway rises
from the mouth
of darkness

pulling cars across
metal track

to the top
of the mountain

the skyline
like a picture
postcard
at sunset

a symphony
at full tilt

a mass of steel
and glass
thousands
of lighted squares
and twinkling
red lights

reminds you
that this city
in its ebb and flow
was here before you arrived

and will remain long
after you are gone

(D James)

climbing the mountain

the blank page
stares back at me

silently mocking
my attempts
to scribble
something

of weight

the blank page
like a snow-covered
mountain

challenges my ability
to communicate
and whisper-laughs
at my thoughts of words

until I say
to the blank page
“ok, you write something”

then there is silence
and I can finally settle down
to begin the work of stringing words
together into something that makes sense

to someone
somewhere

(D. James)

more questions than you know what to do with

white sheet
blank paper

and the
screen in your head
goes black

who ever said
you can’t get there from here

didn’t know where you were
to begin with

so how did they know
where you’d end up

(D. James)

wandering through to the end

lost under a sea
of unfocused thoughts
mind-numbing wandering
through disconnected
days of fear and self-loathing

wondering
where it went wrong
where I went wrong

feeling out of place
out of time
out of my mind

like a character
in an unfinished
Beckett play

waiting for something
like life
to begin
unable to go on
with no choice
but to go on

immobile
immovable
immature

with all the courage
of a well-fed
old house cat

wanting to know
how it all ends
when I should be thinking
where to beginĀ 

(D James)

loss of balance

it could break,
a mind,
from the pressure

all those thoughts
of what I should
be doing
what I did
wrong

asking why

the grace and ease
so longed for
seeming far off
impossible

hoping
for change
and then
don’t want
the kind that arrives

realizing
finally
it is not an answer
I seek
but a way to live

to think thoughts
and take action
generate some
confidence

take some
responsibility
for my life

because if I don’t
who the hell will

(D. James)

make it up

how much time
do we waste
thinking of the things
we’re not doing

the shoulds
the can’ts
the don’t want tos
the don’t have time
or money for

how much energy
is spent
on thoughts and worries
of that
which exists only
in our minds

how far
from reality
can we go
and still be consideredĀ 
rational

doesn’t it depend
on whose reality
we measure from

if life
is primarily
the stories we tell
then what kind
do you want
to make up

(D. James)

left behind

I remember
the past
as if it were
some one else’s
story

as if I
were some one
other than me

those days
and days
of years
the many nights
the horrible “mornings”
of the afternoon

washed clean away
by different thoughts
other actions

I remember a time
when I was
some one else
when I told
a different story

I remember as if
read in a novel
or seen in a film

I remember
so as not to forget
so as not to become
what I’ve been
what was left behind

(D. James)

dust

to dance
like the bones
don’t ache

to run
with the speed
of a panther

to laugh
with the abandon
of a child

to work
and play
and love
as if
I cannot fail

to sleep
like the dead
and dream
as the mystics do

this is how I wish
to spend
the days and nights
before returning to dust

(D. James)

train of thought

thinking thoughts on
trains in tunnels
that take us to
toiling tasks like tinker toys
trudging to their terminus

can we keep
clear of calamity and
concious of creation or

will we wile awhile then
whip ourselves or

take the time
to think thoughts on
trains

while wishing
we weren’t wending our
way to work

(D. James)