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)

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)

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)

to sleep no more

staying up late
to watch the moon
crawl across the sky

the darkness
filled with possibilities
that the sun washes away in the morning

makes me want to hold on to this moment
embracing the night and never letting go

I don’t want
to go to sleep
tonight

but there’s no way
to hold back the sun
or stop the coming day

so for now
I’ll rest a few hours
then wrestle with the demons
in the daylight

until the sun goes down
and another moon comes up
when the possibilities arise
in the shadows of night

(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

the rate of interest is at an all time low

always too loud
always too much

often out-of-place
often out of time

never doing
what I’m supposed to

saying the wrong thing

frustrated
living someone else’s life

unsure of the next move
the right move

going back to where
it started
where I started

always too loud
always too much

out of money
out of time
out on a limb

out of my mind
out of patience
out of sight

some day
this will all end
and I’ll surely miss it

(D James)

beyond exceptionalism

what if
we weren’t
our thoughts

what if
we viewed ourselves
as others do

or better yet
as who we are

without judgement
or emphasizing the negative

what if we strived
to be
acceptional
instead of exceptional

what if all the words
meant nothing
and so we stopped using them
to explain our life

and simply lived it

(D James)

getting to nothing

everything is something
even nothing
is something
if only in word

anything that can be labelled
becomes something
in language

as the mind can
imagine
beyond the edge
of the universe

whether there is light
or microwaves
energy or matter
there is something
even if that something
is nothing

(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)

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)

identity

man
son
brother
friend
boyfriend
lover

funny
generous
temperamental
lazy
aloof
afraid

writer
novelist
poet
reader
seeker
blogger

student
bartender
bouncer
technologist
manager
real estate agent
coach

white
tall
thin
bald

agnostic
socialist
biker
smoker
aries

negative
positive

everything
nothing

(D. James)

the context of silence

there is
the serene silence
of peace
gently broken by the sound
of a bird

the sobering silence
of anger
that forms in the echo
of a slammed door

then there is
the soulful silence
of lovers lying side-by-side

the singular silence
of a man
alone with his thoughts

the silence of a friend
waving goodbye from the window
of a train

the silence of enemies
standing on either side
of a line in the sand

the silence of a hawk
in flight

of the sun
the stars
and the moon in the sky

of a stopped clock
of a flower unfolding

the silence just before
the film begins

of paint drying on canvas
of lips moving in prayer

the silence that occurs
before the wind
that arrives ahead of the storm

the silence between
the final vibration of a violin
and the applause of the crowd

the silence of
worry
pain
loss

distinct from
the silence
of a smile

the silence
of the color blue

or the silence
we choose

and of the thousand thousand silences
the most powerful silence of all the silences
is the silence
of silence

(D James)

why doesn’t matter

the rain doesn’t ask
why it falls

the sun doesn’t ask
why it shines

the tree doesn’t ask
why it leaves

nothing
in all the world
asks why

except us

because we think
what we think
matters

and it does
but only to us

so what if
we let our thoughts
fall away like rain

what if
we shined like the sun

what if
we let our false-selves go
like leaves from a tree

what if
we stopped asking
why

what if
we just admit
we don’t know
and never will

and what if
we didn’t
make it mean anything

(D James)

life in 75 words

waiting
for something
to happen

like life
or something similar

wanting
to be free
from fear

or at least
push through

needing
to take action

but bored with
the supposed options

stifled
by the thoughts
of past failures

though there’s nothing
to be done about them now

avoiding
hard work
and difficult
conversations

instead
I’ll write
and smoke cigarettes
make a life
out of words

because in the end
that’s all any of us
really have

(D James)

knowing this won’t get you here

what’s it like?
what’s it feel like?

rarely
what it is

so we talk about

as if a description
of a thing
is the thing
itself

this isn’t how I feel
these are the thoughts
about how I feel

judgements
on a theme

proximity
of an approximation

but what is it
moment by moment
this thing we call
life

I don’t know
but I can tell you
about it

for hours
and get nowhere

or instead
keep silent
find the moment
in the moment

because it’s happening
it’s always happening
even when we’re struggling
to understand
or explain it

it’s happening
right now
whether we’re aware
or not
whether we understand
or not
whether we agree
or not

it’s happening
even when we’re
not here

(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)

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)

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)

rushing to the end

thinking
you want
what you can’t
have

and knowing
does you no
good

trying
so hard
to make
it all
work out

rushing
to the end
is not the best
plan

letting
it play out
taking
the opportunities
as they come

leaving
behind
what doesn’t
work

seemingly
a more difficult
path
but ultimately
you get there

Only to find out
there is no there
to get to

(D. James)