Mike James

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B.B. King and Clifton Chenier, Artwork by Gene McCormick

Jerry Reed

If you can sing, you are a singer.  If you can dance, you are a dancer.  If you can act, you are an actor.  If you can do any two together, you are an entertainer.  You can turn the corner in a fast car and end up in movie.  The movie might be a lark, but pet rocks were larks and people still talk about them.  It’s a lot easier to smile at a camera than to bend all day over a guitar.  Though it’s hard not to smile if you hold a guitar the right way.  You can shut your eyes, imagine you are strumming some woman’s dark beautiful hair.  Her hair warm as the sun that burns your fingers.  You hold it right and don’t care.      

How Poets Die

Fall off a barstool, jump from a bridge, fail to dodge late night, beach roving dune buggy, walk head first into speeding Buick, contract syphilis and lose marbles first, contract AIDS from holding love hard and in secret, drink and drink, snort something or shoot it up, of course, old age happy in bed (that’s the best), pine away for what’s not there, moment to moment, grow thin from hunger, find words not enough.


Mike James lives and works in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife and five children. His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines throughout the country with recent work in Negative Capability, Chiron Review, and Soundings East. New work is forthcoming in Iodine and Birmingham Poetry Review.  His eighth poetry collection, The Year We Let The House Fall Down, was recently published by Aldrich Press.  A new collection, Peddler’s Blues, will be published in 2016 by Main Street Rag.  He’s previously served as an associate editor at Autumn House Press and as a Visiting Writer-In-Residence at the University of Maine, Fort Kent.  Currently, he serves as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review.