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)

it is not a straight line

I went
as far as the road
would take me

then continued on

I followed
the wind
as far as it did blow

then went beyond

I walked
to the peak
of the mountain

then reached up and touched the sky

I dropped
to the bottom
of the ocean

then dug down to the center of the earth

seen the sights
rode the rides
had loves
and losses

watched the line between
the beginnings and endings
blur
then bend

into a circle

and I can either
go round with it

or waste time
fighting against the flow

(D James)

a fight is a fight and nothing more

today
everyone has a cause

they want us to
sign their petition
vote for their candidate
pray to their god
click to donate

“buy my book”
“see my movie”
“watch me shout
at someone on TV”

everyone thinks
they fight
for what’s right

but in the end
a fight is just a fight
and nothing more

and we
we are no longer
individuals
but demographics
grouped by

geographic location
browsing preferences
tweets and posts

tracked
analyzed
followed
“liked”
and “shared”

in the midst
of all this noise
and data
the bits
and gigs
the shouting
and being right

it is all too easy
to get lost in the created confusion

so we must remember
to look another in the eye
and say hello
share something genuine

and let go
for a moment
of the crush of
information

and be human

(D James)

for Joe Cap

down deep

it’s been said
time is an illusion

not the hands
on the clock

the other time
that exists in the mind

yesterday’s
and tomorrow’s
time

it’s been written
that all we have
is right now

and it only takes
being here right now
to reveal the wonders of life

too simple an answer
for us to comprehend
too easy for the mind to reject

and yet
if we stop for a moment
let our thoughts be thoughts
no more true forward than backward

there is a chance
to be present
and find who we really are
if only briefly

(D. James)

future unknown

where to begin
from here
or much earlier

how will it end
in some sudden unknown later

perhaps
by the hand of another

or drawn out
over time
by some mutated
cellular replication

the future is
impossible to know

what is known
what is certain

is that someday
it will end
or we will
at least as we appear now

what happens after
the form is gone

only the dead
know for sure

(D James)

right now, right now

all the yesterdays
behind you

leave them there

all those unfulfilled
wants and desires

let them go

the worries about tomorrow
and tomorrow’s tomorrow

forget them

whatever supposedly came before
or might happen later
is not now

right now
is perfect
right now
is present
right now
is all we have

be with me here
right now
in the only moment
we have

bring your true self
the one of love
compassion
peace

into this moment

watch the leaves dance in the breeze
the birds take flight
feel the earth turn

be one with the 7 billion
who share this place with us
experience life as a single entity

can you feel it?

(D James)

searching in the dark

darkness falls
sudden and silent
like the end of days
or the beginning

the evening goes deaf
as the black crawls
across the sky
into and through spaces unseen

dots of light
on a velvet canvas
and the new moon rises
reflecting nothing

on the other side of the world
it is winter
and a new day breaks

standing at the shore
uncertain
unready
unsteady

inviting the unknown
or futilely looking
for a place to hide

we either step
into the ocean of fear
or it will crash over us

will we be washed away
or cleanse our spirit

break our heart
or break us open
to find a deeper sense
of who we are

(D James)

the write time

waiting
for silence
to rise

for words
to pour out
like water from a pitcher

stopping
then typing
wanting
then trying

failing
then beginning
again

the dam breaks
when the thoughts
of can’t
and not good enough

are abandoned
ignored
left to die
of starvation

or simply put aside
while the typing
becomes writing

and hours
go by
unnoticed

(D James)

everything in the moment of nothing

each morning
the task
is to get present

the day cannot really begin
without being present
to this very moment

I’m aware of being present
when a smile
stretches across my face
for no reason at all

though there are plenty of reasons
to smile
there are equally enough invented reasons
to frown

the smile I wait for
is the smile for no reason at all
the smile for this very moment in time
when I am connected to being alive

not the world
and my place in it
but all life
yours
mine
the 6 billion others
the trees
the bees
every blade of grass

as well as
the life we can’t see
underneath this one
the cells
and their nuclei

and who knows
perhaps even life
on another planet
in another vast galaxy
far beyond our imagination
or the reach of current technology

this is what happens
when I get present

life expands beyond comprehension
and my worries, fears, judgements, and opinions
all fall away

and I am left with nothing

a blank canvas
to create anything I want
in this very moment

(D. James)

back and here again

going through
the days
of process
and habit

feeling like
a reflection
of myself
in chrome

buried under a sea
of fear
and fretting

my conscious self
sleeps the sleep
of the walking
talking
dead

until
stopping
on a street corner

I look up
at a brilliant
blue sky
dotted with bright
white
clouds

suddenly
awake
to the possibility
called life

not just mine
but all of it
swirling
buzzing
humming

from here
to every corner
of the earth
and back
again

(D. James)

where is the living

wake up
into patterns
of unconsciousness

go through the day
asleep with eyes open

and react
react
react

taking direction
from the small mind
playing safe
surviving

the true self
buried
under all the thinking
thinking
thinking
and the doing
and the waiting

then
for a moment
looking up
past the tall buildings
at a sliver of blue sky
life opens up

now I’m awake

(D. James)

the infinity of one

quiet now
in the small hours
of the morning

with the heart
and mind
aligned

peaceful now
as the new day
dawns

and everything
seems as one
in the vast expanse

is it a straight line
from our ancestors
to now

or is there a circle
that completes each moment

are we really alone
in this world

or surrounded
by the billions
who came before
and since

(D James)

letting go of yesterday

woke up this morning
in yesterday’s undone
tasks

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?”

no

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)

urban scrawl

this thing strung together making no sense yet kept writing these words and not even thinking letting them flow and trying to keep up like in life when everything moves at the speed of sound and people keep moving and I seem to be in the way, slower than everyone else feeling tired and left behind it all seems a bit too much maybe I’m still on west coast time or it could be that I’m no longer interested in the rushing and running, the pushing and shoving, shouldering my way through life trying to get in front of the person in front of me assholes behind me kicking at the backs of my shoes, knocking them off skittering across the platform as the E train rushes out of the station and the next group of followers gathers in the station, and on to the next thing, the one after the one right before this one, how can anyone make sense of the world anymore when people start conversations in e-mail and end them in text, and no one, no one, answers the phone any longer, why can’t this rant end? because there are no endings and no beginnings, there’s just all this rushing around in the middle and when I go, and when you go, there will still be 6 billion and more on the planet to take up where we left off, and there is no reason for it, no meaning – it all is and it all isn’t and we’re here to sort out what it means to us now, and then we’re gone. And the sun will rise and the sun will set, and the sun will rise and the sun will set …

(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)

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)

following a path

years ago
skinny kid
thought he knew
everything

full of bravado
and half-believing

how is it
we lived
through all that
and have come
to this

desire
still tugs
at us

reaching across
the years
the miles

our lives
converging

this path set
before we walked
upon it

no idea
where it leads
only where we’ve
been

maybe
this time
we’ll get it right

(D. James)

JFK – 7 am

unfinished sentences
all these things
left unsaid

a hundred words
stale phrases
none of them
enough

talk all damn day
and I’d still
never get
to what it is
that pulls at me
makes me want to stay

should have tried
should have missed that flight
should be there with you now
should stop trying to make sense
of any of this

because all I want
is to be
where I’m not

all I want
is to be
where
I am
not

(D. James)

jump in … the water’s warm

looking
for what I want
in places I will not find it

thinking
look again
it’ll be there
this time
it’ll be there
now

check now
what about now
not yet
what about now

keep looking
in the same dead place
waiting for my life to begin
when all this time
it’s been right in front of me
waiting for me to see

(D. James)

everything there is … everything

I want
to write
on the walls

spell out
all the
ideas
emotions

color
outside the lines

black pen markings
beginning in one corner

not stopping until I’ve planned out my whole fucking life

filling ten rooms with the words of my mind
the work of my soul

not stopping until it is all out of me
like some monster some wild thing

only then can I lay down to sleep
knowing when I wake it will all
still be there
but exposed out in the open

nothing to hide

(D. James)