Skip to main content

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.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ed Dorn's # 22 From Twenty-four Love Poems

                                               from Jacket The strengthy message here in #22 of 24 Love Songs can be summed up in two lines: ['There is/no sense to beauty. . .' and '. . .How/ the world is shit/ and I mean all of it] What I also like about this brief poem is the interplay between the title of the book and the subject of the poems (love/anti-love (which is not hate)): it's all a mass of contradictions, like love. And I have to say that the shorter poems of the Love Songs and the last book he wrote before dying (Chemo Sábe) seem to me much better and more memorable than the Slinger/Gunslinger poems. These (generally) later poems probably attempt less stylistically, but are more sure-handed, hacked from a soap bar, maybe. Easy to use, but disappear after use. In any case, Dorn is well worth the reading and re-reading, for me, though he'll never become one of my favorites. And doesn't every poet want that, dead or alive? ;-) #22 The agony

Mike James

 The River’s Architecture for Louis McKee, d. 11/21/11 The river has a shape you follow with your whole body: shoulder, footstep, and ear- those who know how to listen hear how river wind is like breath, alive in lung and line. Mike James makes his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has published in hundreds of magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. He has published over 20 collections and has served as visiting writer at the University of Maine, Fort Kent. His recent new and selected poems, Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His last collection, Back Alley Saints at the Tiki Bar, was published in April by Redhawk. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, TN.

Jim Daniels

Half Days My daughter, thirteen, pale shred of herself, fought an unidentified infection in her spine as it softened her discs into disappearance. I’d unread that story if she were young and still listened to lullabies. After she got discharged, I set an alarm for two a.m. each night to shoot antibiotics into her port while she slept, her limp arm resting in my hand. Her return to school: half days—follow my dotted line smearing across months of sleepless breadcrumbs— at noon I idled high, anxious in the school driveway rattling off the latest test results in the zero gravity of fear. She startled me with the brittle thunk of the car door slam, then snapped at me for staring at her friends as they strolled across the street to the cafeteria, creeping them out, she said, embarrassed by illness like hard acne or a blooming hickey, wrong music or flakey hair, or the tacky middle-school jumper she no longer had to wear. I was there to drive her to