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)

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)

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)

thinking thoughts of shouldn’t sayings on Sundays

whispers
of things
I meant to
say

when long ago
I watched
the sun rise

now the moon
is full

and my heart
sinks

the demons
smoke cigarettes
behind the gate

waiting
in darkness
to be let out

(D. James)

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)

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)

old flame same heat

a cold wind
comes through
like longing

how many years
before we’ll be together
my love

will death
take me
before I see
your eyes
once more

feel your skin
breathe you in

is there no
relief from this
yearning

is this to be
yet another
unfinished story

all those miles
all those years
all these trials
all these tears

don’t we deserve
a break in this life
or do we have to wait
until the next one

(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)

quietly approaching

there is something
and yet … and yet

a look
in the eye

something
or something
I made up

how
do you know

ten thousand
subtle seconds

and you only have
a moment to act

am I
the only one
who notices this

(D. James)

tusnami soul

alone
in a room

darkness
of your soul

moment
of madness

you rage
and cry out

“what does
it all mean?”

like a wave
it crashes
over you

washes
everything
away

then subsides

you are left
standing
with nothing

and now
you can begin

(D. James)

expression for a new way of being

Doing
what needs
doing

being
right where
you are

Nothing broken
nothing to fix

even when
the world
seemingly tells
you so

Just remember
that everything
everything
changes

(D. James)

nothing more than love

waiting
for the call
which never comes

the one
where she says
all is forgiven
I love you

she says
please come home
we can work it all out

she says
come to me

and I do
and we do

but the phone
doesn’t ring

and everything
reminds me
of her

cup of tea
a bed
laughter
dark hair
sunlight
dogs
tears
children
laundry

I think
what should I do
with all these thoughts
in my head

afraid to let go
that that
would be
the end

and I keep
wanting
another outcome

the one where
the phone rings

and she says …

(D. James)

wonky compass

you head north
I follow

then east
and I follow

to the west
then south
north again
and I follow

your shifts
of whim

until
my bearings
are lost

and I am
swallowed
in a sea
of emotion

you go on
leaving behind this
reckless wreckage

now
there is
nowhere
to go
but
down

(D. James)

Christmas for Atheists

what can we
give

on this day

that can truly
be called a gift

not something
bought

or even made

but something
of ourselves

to look someone
in the eye
and let them
know

they are loved
and appreciated

to leave
them
feeling
as if you know
exactly who they are

not who you
think they are
or need them
to be

but truly
who they are

(D. James)

power of an addiction

It is said
only the fallen
know the true depths
could you be
one of the rare ones
so often imagined?

Longer than any river
the emotional road we travel

More torturous
than your beauty
this lustful addiction
that can be
briefly assuaged
but never ever cured

And where
have the gods
that made you gone?

Is it true
you destroyed them
so there would be no equal?

I am a dark knight
sent on a failed errand
for a now dead king

riding through endless nights
searching for some
unexplainable something
that exists for a moment
then disappears
leaving only memories
and the faint tint
of lipstick on my glove

I need something beautiful
to destroy me
someone intelligent enough
to match me

I thought I heard you calling

(D. James)