Six Poems
by D. R. James




As recollecting wanes,


I am carving out an effigy of

Forgetfulness grasping mangled ledgers

of memory. Look how it shuffles screens, kinks

files: larceny of channeled retention

from unmuscled thresholds and honed lingo.

Its intrusions inhabit the vacuum.

It hobbles the hinge of suggestion, the

fulcrum of my textual clout. Like sleepwalk,

pillowed and impermeable, it is

ambling the clamped mansion of my cortex.


a line, (a short blue one)



Flanked by Fallacies


Trepidation carved its corridors toward calm,

tapered-dissolved-defeat, drizzled delicious

consciousness over recalcitrant fate.

I’d been mechanical, my state diagnosed

as articulated blurs coalesced

like a burned collage that inured my mind.

I will not pretend to forget what’s forged

or petroglyphed here. Years ago, I was

flanked by those patchworks that made no sense, so

pitiless the swirls, the burls, the burdens.


a line, (a short blue one)



My Wife Practices a Psychotherapy on Me

Using the “Dissociative Experiences Scale”


“What percent of the time, by intervals

of ten,” asks the seventh of twenty-eight

hypothetical manifestations,

“do you feel you’re standing next to yourself,

seeing yourself as another person?” Like

that masked head of the alien conjured

by galactic metaphysics as an

optical reincarnation merging

with a wobbly and thinly white-washed wall

of haphazard placards? “Eighty? Ninety?”


a line, (a short blue one)



Not-Still Life with Columns, Balconies, and Gossamer


A shrug from the universe’s shoulders

spun over and strung onto the rungs, flung

unbuttoned, overlapped over all with

muffling like sleep, monastical, a see-

through silting and stowing of shafts, floating

veils that soon enough damp most meager lamps,

the panes and rails softened, swirled into orbs,

subsequent crescents: thinning to a film,

inhaled up into us as consciousness,

they swim the black and blue cavities white.


a line, (a short blue one)



Once, Subdivided


Like self-exiles, I was proximal; I

was blue spot-lit, gray spot-lit, somebody’s

sector. I nudged slushy snow by nose and

froze touchingly, concealed my seclusion

like a cosseted crime. I snugged up to

angles-cum-anguish, to double-crosses,

to vessels and vassals, harnessed my gut,

my groans. In vain I trained for inclusion

at tables in gorgeous chambers of guilt,

black/red symmetrical graves. Then…scrapped it.


a line, (a short blue one)



Unremitting Epiphany:


Shoulders and knees unyieldingly mature!

Mine slide bone over offending bone and

puff like tough balloons, fueling refusal

to move. Once, my shoulders were boulders. Once,

my knees weren’t tricky. I’d sic ‘em on lifts

that deep-sixed me, rips willed invisible.

I saw them scoring jealous stares, mistook

injury for max-burn musculature.

They saw the future, the facts that would soon

ooze, their doomed hinges undone with stickum.


a black line


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