Mike James: “Quotations”


As a boy in a small village
In the shadow of a short mountain
I asked an old man
The very oldest I knew
Why the world is the way it is.
He told me, “It was always like this. 
Even on the first day.”

 An insomniac friend confided,
“I fall asleep quickly if someone
Is watching, attentively. 
That’s the only thing
That works. My first wife 
Thought it sweet for 
A few years.”

One woman to another
In a check-out grocery line:	
“I don’t know what he wants 
From me, except 
That one thing.

Lately, I think 
His heart is a fist.” 

After a few drinks
Talk turns to 
Recent ones with dog teeth. 
Childhood ones which never left. 
           “Some dreams wake me up
When credits roll at the end.”

“I’m afraid,” she says, 
“I’m always afraid. I think about 
Calling on angels for help. Then I remember 
I don’t know one angel’s name.”

About the Author: Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His poetry collections include: Leftover Distances (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), and Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog.)  In April, Red Hawk published his 20th collection, Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Cholla Garden” (2021)

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