D.R. James

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Apparently it has been said
that two lions guard
the door to enlightenment. But
Paradox and Confusion, two
of the best friends a guy could hope
he will leave behind,
seem more like two winos
blocking the door
to your apartment, trying
to avoid enlightenment,
though they don’t know it.
You could step over them
but you’d risk their awakening.
I wish I were an abstraction
in the form of a non-cognizant
but ferocious mammal. Not only
would I be warm-blooded
and highly respected
and sporting a non-thinning mane,
I could save all the time I now spend
attempting consciousness.
It has also been said, however,
that I tend more toward
the cold-blooded (possibly reaching
luke-warm when sunshine
heats up the lagoon) and not
regularly regarded, since I’m
off swimming around, looking
for the world I swim in.
Which is funny if I think about it.
Which I can’t. I’m like
Prufrock in his flannel pants,
pushed around by a Symbolist,
three teeth cracked on peach pits,
love life always aground
around tea-time, sleeping
just out of earshot
so as not to drown.

World Lit. Postcards

1. from S. Beckett

Salut, cher idiot.
This place is a brain.
The weather ended some time ago.
The folks are bottled.
I’m feeling something might happen.
I spend my time scuffing between high windows.
I need another gross of non sequiturs.
I’ll see you with whitened eyes.
Give my regards to your fleas.

2. from M. de Cervantes

Hola, well-meaning amigo.
This place is like a prison.
The weather never closes.
The folks are dun and dusty and dull.
I’m feeling sardonic.
I spend my time inventing the novel.
I need the Flying Circus.
I’ll see you singing and adapting on Broadway.
Give my regards to Sister Juana.

3. from E. Dickinson

Dear postmodern co-dependents.
This place—a Grave.
The Weather—like an organ.
The folks line up for miles.
I’m feeling discovered.
I spend my time imitating tiny birds.
I need steel-toed shoes.
I’ll see you in Daddy’s study.
Give my regards to every little thing.

4. from L. Pirandello

Ciao, Baby.
This place is multi-leveled.
The weather matters unpredictably.
The folks are dearer than you’ll ever know.
I’m feeling, really.
I spend my time cataloguing possibilities.
I need you to see me.
I’ll see you in more ways than one.
Give my regards to Fellini.

5. from F. Kafka

Hello, fellow exoskeletal.
This place is a two-hole shitter.
The weather doesn’t symbolize the abyss.
The folks are finally happy.
I’m feeling somewhat not myself.
I spend my time under the couch.
I need inflating.
I’ll see you after the recital.
Give my regards to the manager.

6. from Euripides

Greetings, festivalites!
This place is less patriotic.
The weather favors me over Aeschylus.
The folks are finally openly barbaric.
I’m feeling existential.
I spend my time rifling local mythology.
I needed you.
I’ll see you in hell.
Give my regards to all the other gods


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 his poems and prose have appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals (including Misfitmagazine, Summer 2020). James lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan.