Dream at Wit’s End: Poems by D.R. James

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.


Sketchy Shepherd

He recalls conspiring where none transpired. In his memory, the self is tall, masquerades as transparent ace interceding for ignorant innocents, abandoned whelps refused compassion, visible solar-plexus chakra emanating self-care. Meanwhile, in a pose stylized for its best effect, stance eclipsing thin reflection, he ascertains their devoted whimpers, whispers hovering alive like fireflies.


Dream at Wits’ End

Under branches defying gravity the path meandered toward the nursery. From an uncertain height all eyes seemed upon us. The silence of blossoms made it at first feel right. Leaf-fall, bleeding from selected trees, the greenhouse at its designated distance, argued for the set-up as an outgrowth of nature, the temperature not as a kind of poison. In fact, the caretakers were in league with economies of fear. They would take mallets to our knees. These thorns were gods and we travelers, worshipers, torsos caught eternally in coarse and caustic brambles. What use to mouth inane prayers or stride like animals? What use to side-step the torn stubble like creatures of the night? We’d need streamers of fire to excavate a trench toward home. We’d need to swivel our shoulders, plunge through the forest without helmets, pause before the altar whose namesake was our mother, whose stanchions were of heartwood, whose scene allowed no repeating. Our best intentions undercut before daylight, our balance challenged by the frequency of foxholes, our voices reduced to the capacity of swine, our vision limited like a gas-lit lamp, we ping-ponged till pleading Uncle.


Copyright ©2022, by D.R. James. All Rights Reserved.

D. R. James’s latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020); his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project; and individual poems have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals. He lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. Author Page for D.R. James at Amazon.

Dream at Wit’s End: Poems by D.R. James
Scroll to top