Poems by D. R. James

Cement Garden

It’s spring again, silvery buds on branches,
the garden violent with hydrangea sticks.
Grandma has wandered to her front-porch chair.
There, her toes barely touch the floor, her gown
screens her sighing knees, her newspaper masks
sink and cupboard undulating behind
her eyes. Apology’s necessary—
this is not her style: beyond the gate flash
lime and lemon groves along steep park lanes,
their peeled bone crash-glittering in her sleep.



::dive in anywhere::::go ‘round and ‘round
on pearl or coral::::cross on cobalt::
::stall against the black mass::::the black
slabs that finger under rivers of rose::
::your hazel eyes will search unmirrored the
rings like years::::vibrato’d, banded angles::
::your sparrow childhood will scan for
the far mouth of corn stalks::::inflict patient
waiting before screaming::::scrawls in clay
will cue the silliness of ancient glyphs::
::saplings will bend and sing to the wind::
::darkened leaves will unhem and dawn’s
paradise will shatter, the constellations
of fine lines torn apart for a merciless
afterward waving like harsh flags::
::but then a familiar vermilion will send
autumn’s frost dissolving, diurnal hours
zigzag-falling like freewheeling feathers::
::until tonight ages into its sedate pitch::::those
baffling coils slacken into cool-jazz Taps::::and
you view the horizon glimmered and wobbled::


Flanked by Fallacies

Trepidation carved its corridors toward calm,
tapered—dissolved—defeat, drizzled delicious
consciousness over recalcitrant fate.…

Company, by Rickie Lee Jones

I loved her music when it first came out, more than forty years ago. She was so obviously unlike anyone else on the music scene at the time. Jazzy, Bluesy, big-hearted, street-smart, and very cool. The Duchess of Coolesville, they called her. But her songs pointed beyond that cool, toward dark depths and pain, manic highs and shattering lows, and the ethos of a teen runaway. You wanted to be with her, learn her Jazzy, street-smart ways, protect her if you could, if she would let you. And she was friends with Tom Waits, the author of “Jersey Girl,” the deep, whiskey-yang, to her soulful, sultry, vagabond-yin.…

I’ve Been Remiss: 100 Years Later

While 2022 has not ended yet, I probably should have addressed this sooner: a century has past since the publication of Ulysses, by James Joyce, and The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot. Celebrations and retrospectives of both, along with a wide range of other masterpieces from 1922, have proliferated this year, especially in the West. But I’d feel, well, at least a tinge of regret if I didn’t toss in my own two cents, and a link or two on the subject.

James Joyce in Paris, with friend and patron Sylvia Beach. Bettmann/Getty Images

Critical assessments, of course, evolve, and cultural eras seem to lose their appearance of unity as time goes on.…

The Book of Goose, by Yiyun Li

Friendship, especially when young, is a volatile thing. Best Friends Forever can turn into Best Friends Never at the drop of a hat, or lose its magic more slowly, over time. Catastrophic drama or just fade away, and all things between.

In Yiyun Li’s wonderful novel, the birth and death of friendship gains new life through the telling, through the writing of books within books, tales within tales, memories revived. With The Book of Goose, Li has written a kind of post-postmodern story, where the meta-aspects appear naturally, folded in with the narrative itself, instead of jumping up and down, asking for (theoretical) recognition.…

Fall Additions to Spinozablue, and More Paintings

Fawn at Noon, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2022.

Spinozablue welcomes new poetry from James Croal Jackson, Mitch Corber, and Howie Good, plus new fiction by David M. Rubin.

If you’d like to submit your own work, please go to the Submissions Page, and fill out the contact form as per instructions. You can bypass that form once we’ve made First Contact . . .

I recently experimented with horizontal usage of the Waterpaint Soft Edges brush from Krita. Had been using it primarily in a vertical way. I like the results. As before, using the brush(es) freehand, trying to incorporate more color selections and different textures to augment the background.…

New Poems by James Croal Jackson

On Sassafras the KEPT ONES

In the alley toward the strip yellow
plant caution tape walking through trash

valley to Iron City Beer no one
needs to pack bags stepping on

white rocks on Sassafras the KEPT ONES
under clouds. Wonder who makes

it out alive. Plastic bag with Lysol
wipe flapped in the wind when tossed

in the trash. Another event stupidly
beautiful to admire. When I look away

I could crash into sunflower NO PARKING
signs. What masochist places

these in the middle of a long busy stretch
of sidewalk? Now bees won’t leave

me alone in this heat


Write Everything

write a waterfall eroding the sediment of past
words to drip off tongue burn in the crinkle
crackle of sandpaper rocks white walls you speak
against refuse to listen ears plugged with pink
plastic unsustainable their space your space


OK Google

is your volume at two


my mouth my tongue

a computer can’t play stupid

a bad
sign like your tongue itching

let me ask again

tongue itchiness cannabis

I think you want to play it again


should I be worried


—by James Croal Jackson

Copyright © 2022, by James Croal Jackson.…

Surfaces: New poems by Mitch Corber


Domesticity reigns supreme
in bedroom foreplay
and kitchen kindnesses
as stress dissolves in liquidity.

Past implosions irk the cautious
nurse, her very livelihood
threatened by a weapon-wielding
boss man who … don’t ask.

Free again, I’ve found
my downed wingspan rising
as buried heretic ledgers
adjourn to the surface.



A Bingo of elation, frayed jeans
and Led Zep in the form of a scar.
Your lieutenants all beg mercy
for a goodness-caress of rich passion.

Diesels spew the rooftops off of squatters
doffing their cinder-caps for loosie-goosie
ladies of sidesaddle majesty. A crowbar
awaits the faint of heart.…

Annie Ernaux wins Nobel Prize for Literature.

Ernaux in the 1960s. Photo by L’Inventoire.

The 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Annie Ernaux, the author of Happening, and The Years, among more than twenty other books. Born in 1940, in Normandy, she published her first book, Cleaned Out, in 1974. Several of her works have been made into movies.

The Swedish Academy said this about her writing, in announcing the prize:

“Her work is uncompromising and written in plain language, scraped clean. And when she with great courage and clinical acuity reveals the agony of the experience of class, describing shame, humiliation, jealousy or inability to see who you are, she has achieved something admirable and enduring.”

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