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)

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)

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 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)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

four day wait

counting the days
until
we are together

this
the last time
we will be separated

seems longer
than all the others

how can twenty years
apart
seem shorter
than
the next four days?

(D. James)

contradiction of terms

messy business
this thing
called
life

no straight lines
or perfect circles

unchartable
unpredictable
erratic

like a riff
beauty
between
sour notes

brief
unyielding
amazing
painful
joyous

full of love
and contradictions

it couldn’t be
any other way
so why look for
what isn’t there

(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)

wanting only waits

telegraphing
overt messages
through the ether

like talking
to you through
glass

none
but you
knowing their
true meaning

I wonder
what is
to be done

or should
I simply
be more
patient

waiting for
a reply
not an answer

for now
that would
be enough

(D. James)