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Mike James

 Some Things I Know 


after Villon 



I know the corners where good times are found 

I know how to pull a hustle with a dancer’s grace 

I know how to lie when I grin 

I know how sunglasses hide the inward gaze 

I know to say please if a collar is on 

I know how to hold a rosary, say Latin prayers

I know how to argue with the priest about sin

I know everything, but myself 


I know to walk straight with cops around 

I know restaurant dumpsters, when they serve 

I know thank you can be a way in

I know how to make a friend for all he’s worth

I know which body parts to cover with cream

I know the sunrise by calendar 

I know how falling in a nightmare ends

I know everything, but myself 


I know exits in all the places I’ve been 

I know the romance stories strangers share 

I know suits by the cut, can guess wearer’s age by tie 

I know every bench in the park and the trees nearby 

I know charm is not an always luxury 

I know some plan for tomorrow as if it will last 

I know Richard and Michael and how they met 

I know everything, but myself 


I make these lists so my head stays clear 

I make these lists to know what I’ve touched 

And to measure all my distances 

I know everything, but myself 




Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His many poetry collections include: Leftover Distances (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), and Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog.) He has received multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.



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