Mike James “Andy Says…”

Andy Says…

I like to get going, then just go…It’s easy in the morning because sunlight’s in every
window, curtains open…Who needs curtains if you have no shame…Wake before
sunlight, there are lamps everywhere…Anyone will tell you the light’s not the
same…Light’s better in the summer…Duh, but true…Summer means no sweaters even
for an ice queen…Scarves are year round…I walk the same summer route every day, but
the view changes…Sidewalk people look scared or studious…Leash dogs look happier
than their walkers, especially in the park…Squirrels were created for distractions…In my
park there’s a hollow tree children whisper into when lost…I was often lost as a
child…People forgot me…Once I was left at a zoo…I stared at a lion all day…I still
can’t roar…I can draw a map, but can’t read one…I have no sense of direction…If it
wasn’t for gravity I might chase a balloon…Flying might be fun on heavy traffic
days…Also, I like watching television through other people’s windows…Everyone loves
trash on television, even when they hold their noses…Trash is an equalizer…The same
on any boulevard, in any zip code…Some people travel to prevent boredom…Nothing
bores if you don’t care about neighbors…Your mother might say some scolding
things…If you turn your back she’s in another room…Close your eyes and spin around
on Dorothy days…If it can be wished true in Kansas, those wishes work anywhere…

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: Digitally enhanced public domain image of Judy Garland

William Taylor Jr: “A Seventeen Dollar Glass of Wine and the Early Works of Matisse”



A Seventeen Dollar Glass of Wine and the Early Works of Matisse 

I’m drinking overpriced wine 
in the cafe at the Museum 
of Modern Art on a Tuesday 

Summer is done and the tourists 
have gone back to whatever sad places
spawned them.

Everything is quiet and civilized
as I sip the Chardonnay of the day
while reading about Baudelaire
and his miserable genius.

The women are pretty
in skirts and dresses
whispering to each other
as they gaze upon some lesser 
work of Edvard Munch.

Everything is clean, white and pristine
while outside are all the things 
the headlines drone on about:

cancer and freeway crashes 
things on fire and the inevitable 
collapse of every decent 
thing we’ve ever known.

But it all seems so far away 
and meaningless when 
compared to what Matisse 
achieved in his later years

and it feels pointless 
to dwell upon such dreariness
when confronted with Warhol’s 
comic book yellows 
and reds.

Here the mistakes of our past
have been captured and neutralized
handsomely framed and placed 
upon the walls with gilded 
plaques of explanation

so that we might see
and soberly contemplate
for a moment or two
before moving on 
to something else 

and then back downstairs 
for another glass of wine 
before everything


About the Author: William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a volume of fiction. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and The Chiron Review. He is a five time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. Pretty Words to Say, a new collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Six Ft. Swells Press.


Image Credit: “Henri Matisse Working on a Paper Cut Out” Creative Commons Public Domain