the poetry knook, the poetry of stephen m. james

Poems with the tag ‘death’

Something’s in the water

(A meditation for Mother’s Day and Christmas)

“Something’s in the water.” Chuckles surround.
“I’m due. Get ‘em out with spicy Thai.”
Down in straps infants spit-up over shoulder and lapse
the recurring flow–before nine and after one,
suckling two, singled out, like the single ones so few
within the stained. Glass. Body–broken.
Created to create, duty to do, should we adopt, a different view?
Turn a cheek when asked if trying instead of
shoving our Brothers and Sisters, sighing:

A gleam in God’s eye, a moat in mine.
Doused at a shower: games and pastel flower
present from the eye, a tear, ducks out early dashing hope
upon the rocks by Babylonian stream, the placenta’s quite salty,
but ’tis sweeter than bare melancholy.

Christened: yet another granny or grandpa’s claim,
last week’s was not averse to holy, genocidal names–
ache and money enough can get triple the glow, the pound,
the flesh, the ounce add up every week, you know, weighing down,
C-cups runneth over to nursery wants ten more
fingers, ten more toes, to fight the battle
in the basement of babies booming below.

Impregnated with fertility in winter–in spring:
proud pistils sing standing up theirs in-carnations
on Sunday two of–May the un-mothered run away.
But no matter the year, we worship a child in the end:
bowing to our cherubs in bathrobes, tiny babes in bulletin,
sliding through choruses on the backs of asses to Bethlehem.

For God so loved the world that he sent an advent series
every year to remind the shepherdess, in her barren fields,
to treasure up these things and ponder them.

Til death due us together

the beautiful hurts me,
and she asks me five ****in’ times if I really mean it
when I tell her she’s the most beautiful creature that God ever made
(You know. . . at least I believe you when you compliment me!)

rules are broken in pairs, it seems
actions more valuable than boxes sitting on my chest of drawers,
and I can’t cash these actions until I die
(because we both know we’ll never see each other again.)


Down, down, I funnel
on the carcass of Prince Charming,
slain by poetry and mid-night wondering
into the darkness to glean,
gathering the strings of dreams
put on hold
for another spoonful of depravity.

Can you force me to epiphany?

In your Lucid Dream, she was your savior:
a nude supermodel standing in the doorway,
(is it distracting to the message?)
for those defined by emotional intimacy–searching
under a rock somewhere, someday
where the 30 year dew will have ‘mil-ded;”
‘after you’ve driven off a bridge at 80 mph”¦somehow you don’t let happiness in without a full body search,”
insecurity ignites with alcohol, you know,
masks on the front, masks on the back
‘I don’t know if I can be your friend with that mask on?”
I’m not the only one hiding,
fearing one could be taken away,
like the half-empty consequence of predestination,

waiting for another ‘Document1″ to load,
a finger to curl around and a shoulder to smell,
a face to trust after my reconstructive surgery and
if my intellect hung by atomic magnetism to my sanity?
will innocence be charming then?
for sweet sauce would be bland without the sour.
I’m a pleasure delayer–maybe? Is God?
Well, we’re still here. Aren’t we?
oh, to know this image more than it knows itself
and to ask what is happiness?
The little things: there’s nothing bigger
(everything is little to Him).
Immortality as entertainment””this can’t be the future,
but it is the present church: ‘Look at this. I’m frozen, and you’re dead.”
–’It’s a problem,” Penelope says with a smirk
and a kiss, and a vow to love me forever.

‘You just never seem to be there for your friends until they give up on you.”
–well, that’s because they don’t need me when they are high.
‘Don’t you know that when you sleep with someone your body makes a promise or whether you do or not.”
–My life is chewy twizzlers. Add some food coloring, and call me in the morning, honey.
No! Challenge me, change my view:
teach me!
if you can,
for I don’t know what to enroll in or
whether it would be quicker to just read
or watch a movie?

can you analyze why I sniff
your shoulder, and what I want in
life, entice me to entertain
you and not to convulse in
tally my thoughts and find a sum?

One dog sniffs – a poet’s calling

One dog sniffs the other’s behind,
“You artistic?” he asks.

no hiding, let’s follow our noses:
{Adultery in the reception line}
ignored””the best man wants to hug the bride.
{Hell in the visitation line}
ignored””the mother collapses on the casket.

my roommate sometimes smells my children
“What’s the raison de etre of your joie de vivre,” he asks.
“I don’t know,” I reply,
“but it sure sounded like a female in a men’s restroom:
good and frightening.”

Sometimes I lie

sometimes I lie,
I bite myself–forking:
You’re saving souls from fire
and day to day desolation,

and for a moment, the fangs are enough
to not slit my scaly skin,
ignoring others’ bleeding,
like me! in self-pity,

tragedy keeps me humble–thirsty
to stare, into cringes and dying corpses
decaying on the desert, I swivel on
with no eyelids I cannot cry.

but the sun still shines
behind clouds and over sandy mounds–
burning yet basking! and the cross
is enough tragedy to get me through.

© 1993-2024 by Stephen M. James.