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)

The Question Is: Do You Want To Go Forward Or Backward? (The Choice Is Yours)

asking why
leads backwards

as in “why did you do that?”

why asks for excuses
reasons
justification of the past

asking what
looks forward

as in “what will you do with that?”

what asks to create
is curious
and wants nothing more
than for something to be expressed

(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)

morning luck

long shadows
rush around
in straight lines

bundled against
the early morning sun
that gives off light
but little heat

another day
for the many lucky enough
to have made it through the night

yet who among us
thinks of the new day that way
before the first cup of coffee
if at all

(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)

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)

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)

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 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)

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)

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)

this can’t be it, can it?

and this is not
my life,
is it?

worrying about goals
and hitting targets
making my numbers
for the month

this can’t be
why I’m here

this isn’t my life
being in debt
and fretting
over back taxes

my life
is about art
and culture
and friends
and family
and love
mostly love

my life
is for fun
and adventure
and taking big risks

my life
is to be used up
so that I don’t die
leaving behind
just debt and struggle
but something
of greater value
than that

something
much more lasting
or at least more fun

(D James)

messages

what if
there were
messages

lessons
something
to learn

what if
there were
spirits whispering
in your ear

what if
you could hear
the sound
of an angel’s heartbeat
in the dreams of a lover

would you rather
drudge along
talking about
what’s impossible

or
spend your days
listening for light
in the flutter of a bird’s wings

(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)

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)

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)

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)