the poetry knook, the poetry of stephen m. james

Pommelled fruit

Back up against a tree,
golden foliage shelters the curves,
freckled islands, a desert
of smooth sand, gripped by palms
soaked in the sweet, salty sweat of a summer night
squeezed of the juice from a fallen fruit.

What if boot camp was what it was all about

the pendulum swings and
college slides
down the bunk bed post,
debunked of passion,
penny loafers, worn, on ice rolling
credits shower mortarboards
the newly commissioned officers
grow beards in battle
and salute the retail mercenaries
and baristas in berets

Will they love me if I comment?

I will love if she comments (so many)
times and sights un-seen,
climbing mountains and sipping beers Flickr before my eye
and ewe sit behind a webbed and woolen curtain
following, descending, my stumbling Bloc,
stares into a liquid crystal reflection,
for nuclear arms are easier to hug than bloggers.

God had a sense of humor

God had a sense
of humor that he didn’t share with His angels
entertaining Adam and Eve as they created Seth.
Laughter was heard on a wedding night
between the pain and the pleasure:
ingredients for a sticky sauce
that adheres family portraits and
slippery noodles to a single, circular wall.

You’ve stopped up my pen

my well, my pad, you’ve stopped up my pen, for I scribe on you every night,
pinning my anger to the ground, you hold fast

my million pieces, my puzzle, curiosity arousing me over and over
the horizon of this sparrow’s eye,

my perfect, my storm, I am wall-eyed and hooked wallowing
in the night so young an infant, the day still suckles with

my revelation, my special–burned into, an image, cloth
buried in a broken body

my mouthwash, my goodnight, I may never brush my teeth,
and gum your neck at thirty,

my lion, my lamb, doodles on the page became your name,
the softest thorns of the vineyard snag my skin,

my friend, my lover, your experiences, story, and knowledge
poured over an altar for me.
and all you get is I
will love you more than knowledge,
more permanently, more pertinently than life,
for life, for you.

The planes: the shortest distance between corn

Repetition is a common prayer dangerous to a driver
boxed in, under an open sky, a rectangular prison
as rain arches across the planes.

Did you know the shortest distance between corn
are straight lines though its poles’ and electrical power lines,
an overturned microchip, the ticks on a rail
road of boxes and cylinders city-bound
around square miles of deserted farmland.

Tigers (or your tormentors)

I never wanted to kill for anyone,
until you held me,
down, your face rests
on my sox and shoes slide,
next to you I wanted to rise and slay

Not cuddly pillows
nor caged cubs
that suckle dreams of independence,
but savannah-bred savages and ice-aged
mastodons and saber-toothed

Growling, pouncing a bout:
boxers breathlessly clinched,
our softest thorns snag
ear and hair, teeth
marks, cross hairs align with

These slabs of meat began to come
into my head, I will provide
soup around a blazing campfire,
ladling brisket and blade that bleed
warmth under the fur of our


face peeled, skin on asphalt,
defaulted in this holy of holies
rip the curtain,
cross the altar,
sacrifice the scarred,
keep Caesar out, You have no place here,
Heaven, iconically, confesses to keep going despite this
blizzard whipped, blinding snow.
the warm tropical water scrapes the scales
needling another pilgrim to confess.

Was it this man or his parents, Katrina?

digging for answers in the murky
two channels down on Court TV, I flip
beady eyes to flashes to bodies floating in filthy, frothy sewage,
the drunk tourists say there’s no limits before Lent within the
Big Easy limits the thoughts
the night before
this day,
it’s not quite fol–low
the separation of jurisdiction not present: Nikes racing to
convene at Conventions unknown
numbers and time
escape inside the dark dome
to Jefferson’s [they] Parish– to declare
to stay put the marshes guard
the coast Guards the living
ocean from the people flood
spilling over it’s banks
lifted safely to CNN to see
politics play cards: a race
against Times Picayune said a cat. [five] could levy heavy taxes on its people
to survive do what’s
appropriate a Bill
and a Bush, to show we care
fill her up– tomorrow will cost
2 cents more:
the journalist actually screams “These people need
refuge–gee, we made a mistake” To err is natural
selection and disaster–here? [US?] No,
see no, say no
“looters” or AP-the
tower falls
in Siloam, we say

June Widow (after Saving Private Ryan)

If I pick her, she will be torn,
beautiful flowers, back over the pond, in a vase,
the French countryside–I’ve seen her wear it on Sundays,
the place we met–the demolished cafes–sans the coffee;
we share memory of mothers with the crash of cannons,
beyond the river where red was roses and Revlon
and knee cuts on the playground,
we left our school-teaching-selves:
like the rubble above our brothers
that collapsed our bridge home.

© 1993-2024 by Stephen M. James.