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… always Love more.

By J. K. McDowell.

July 2016.


There is much to celebrate and much to lament.

The alchemy works! Too long I have used

Detachment as a shield against enchantment. No more!


Bible or no, “Fisher of Men,” we all know the phrase.

Caught in the Net, the Matrix, the Mesh… Sorting the

Digital debris of “Likes,” we always want more.


Auto-drive is stuck on Accelerationist.

We want, we want, we want. Really? A cancerous

Ecology confuses abundance with more.


Morning breaks, the cardinal calls, the conure screeches.

Two empty shells, lives found shattered. Not a good day.

Jesus they are not listening anymore.


A parabolic path over rusted razor

Wire, the flaming arrow strikes me center chest,

Only to find my Heart is missing. Please feel more.


These Shadows, uninvited guests, arrive late.

Still, torture, murder and genocide are not welcome.

Never forget James, you can always Love more.

… always stranger.

By J. K. McDowell

May 2016


We cross into the season of named storms.

This dreaming dust awaits a baptism by lightning.

Realize that a once familiar shore is now stranger.


A flash of insight is often needed to move

Along the spirals of memory and belonging.

Odds are the face in the mirror is stranger.


A darkness fills wonderland and the hookah burns

With a new blend of herbs. Inhales, curiousier

And curiousier, become even stranger.


Strength and honor, we stand in the danger beyond

The pale. Weaponless at the ready, hands clasped,

“So say we all” in a cadence never stranger.


The steel for vermin. Despite your justified

Atrocities James, the beheading by a friend is

Always preferred to any cut by a stranger.


Duende, so close to death, this poetic pursuit.

There is no choice here, the inexplicable fears

Disappear and what remains is always stranger.

… and truths confused.

By J. K. McDowell

March 2016


I have eaten my imagination by mistake.

Healer, tell me how does soul mending work?

This is a wounding before “once upon a time.”


Leap but do not expect the net to appear.

That extra day last month set you back weeks.

An apocalypse planner is rarely reliable.


I suppose the anger is from a zigzag mix

Of emptiness and enchantment. Freezer burn,

These leftovers, even warmed, are unfit to eat.


Tonight the call goes out cryptically universal.

Touching everyone and impacting a few.

Spirit fingers tipped with invisible sparklers.


Mealtime, the woodpecker hammers the oak, a distant

Yet reassuring sound. Hallowed echoes and

Elsewhere dinner conversation dissolves in anguish.


James, this is an asymmetrical voyeurism.

Infection and conjuring, touched at a distance.

Dances of windows, mirrors and truths confused.

… uncanny shadows.

By J. K. McDowell

May 2016


Desperate times, I filled my pillow with the

Ashes of my failed scribbling from last month.

No inspiration, just more and more night terrors.


There was no comfort in his archived photos.

False hopes flourish in the rotting decay of guilt.

In anger, she deleted the laptop’s hard drive.


A beautiful sight from shore, the storm layers

And builds. We forget the shipwreck of our lives,

Trapped in the delight of our own desolation.


Even the most beautiful eyes are not enough

To sustain any vision of the future.

Steamed milk frothiness, I kissed her lips again.


There is deep work that has to be done alone.

Candles burn all night as we rip out the threads

Of inappropriate stitching – a darkened poetry.


Do not worry, fear twists the in-between places of the

Imagination. So, like most mystics James,

Your inner light casts odd and uncanny shadows.

New Poem: “… sea chantey.”

… sea chantey.

By J. K. McDowell.

December 2015.


Seeing things in black and white, you can rarely tell

That the blood spiraling down the drain is really

Just chocolate syrup – unless your own is spilled.


What is the safe distance from your darkest secrets?

Delight and sorrow – the fragrant rose and piercing thorns.

What are we to each other? Five paces, turn and fire.


The nib of the pen carves through the emotion,

Setting in place the envisionment. Cold water

Screams rarely provide any satisfying terror.


I reflected on the failed harvest and wonder

Over the defeat and the blame of liberty.

We do not see the blood seeping from the asphalt.


The dervish orbits the column and poetry flows.

This is an inertia that spins me through the

Fatigue that challenges the creative spirit.


There is a storming chorus that reminds you of your

Insignificance. James, I am so pleased to

Finally hear your own voice in this sea chantey.

New Poem: “… to give.”

… to give.

By J. K. McDowell

February 2016


There are lost found poems, there are found lost poems.

In the sorted differences, January slips through your fingers.

Fear grips a freshly sharpened pencil, begin again.


The claws and fangs of this New Year are showing.

Have you been stealing from my collection of crucifixion nails?

The neglect of routine mending has finally let in the cold.


Everyone seems to have forgotten the gifts

They opened on that blessed morning last year.

We demand salvation but bring no charity.


I have filled the cracks in the mirror with gold.

I am not sure I cut myself any less while shaving.

The scent of Moroccan Myrrh fills the bath.


This year, the King Cake madness has come too early.

Garish charades and crowded parades overrun

The common sense of prudence and compassion.


I am gathering the colored shards of shattered

Contemplations. James, don’t tell me what you want

Or what you think. Tell me what are you going to give.

… the stabbing.

By J. K. McDowell.

December 2015.


The last domino falls, the workweek is done,

For now. I cannot recount the insignificant

Accomplishments – The best, the worst, you know the crimes.


There is a lot of talk about “The Other.”

Some foreign dignitary of inferior rank.

All this attention, so tell me, are you to blame?


You know, your sovereignty depends on no one.

That is the idea. Do not call me to supper

Expecting me to prepare the meal. I am the One.


You know the phrase: “Ain’t no one like me but me.”

Torn apart, put back together, over and over.

We are this perfection and we did ask for this.


Break with the chains of tradition that enslave us.

I know the fear, the threats, the wounds, the soul’s emergence.

Sit with me, I will call the healers to come.


James, there is an aloneness that can break the camel’s back.

The desert sand makes for a soft sweet landing.

Ah, then the knives come out, ready for the stabbing.

… yes, silence.

By J. K. McDowell.

December 2015.


For the fire, the burning is everything. The flames

Will never know the cotton’s softness and the

Unspun fibers are blind to the flickering colors.


Warm curves among a thread count in the eighteen

Hundreds and yet somehow the naked softness

Of your dreams is the attraction. Poetry is real.


Kindness is not softness, rather the hammer

That nails you to The Cross. A salvation against

The answers to violence from all directions.


In secret, I crave the softness of your presence.

The effervescence of a fresh bottle of Brut

Opened before the party. Yes, diamonds are hard.


Much has happened before the sword is drawn.

Ore chiseled from the mine – the furnace reveals

The softness of the steel – the wheel its sharpness and shine.


James, sometimes a poem must end in softness.

There is the commiseration of words on a page,

Voices always ending in silence – yes, silence.

… your poetry.

By J. K. McDowell

December 2015


No one, nobody, no man – you need an escape.

A Cyclops of singular vision and appetite

Has promised to eat you last. Pour the wine.


The pain has passed but the terror still lingers.

You recall her fingers around your rag doll throat.

The unloving closeness where you saw her fangs.


A bottle of wine and a bottle of hot sauce.

So what is the missing ingredient to this

Personal poetic alchemy? I can’t say.


Fall awake – There is a breath from the other world

That lifts your spirits to unknown heights above

The mundane doubts of the day-to-day drudgery.


The world of objects exists without your blessing.

I can’t give you leave to pretend otherwise.

The world outside thought is heavier than you can lift.


We need the pretensions of the wine critic.

The quality of Furies, Harpies and Muses

Builds flavor – bouquet. James, this is your poetry.

Old Poem: “… many colors.”

… many colors

By J. K. McDowell

November 2010


The flames capture your deep looking and hold fast to

What was once just a glance of the soul. My advice:

Do not turn away. Others will avoid the window.


The stars suggest flexibility and grace.

The healing is over, why do the cast and the

Crutch remain? Does this street of suffering suit you?


She is the ghost that haunts your remembering.

I need to be more than a phantom memory,

Rather an eerie tingling chill, a stolen caress.


I suppose the whole thing is rather unsettling.

A confined balance of panic and pain.

I wonder, is a change of address in the future?


I notice a dragon in the conure’s sneer.

Surprised, I peer closer, she has never breathed

Fire before but somehow my eyebrows are singed.


The dark half of the year has hatched, J. K.

In time, we fall back to refuge, reminded

That black friday comes in so many colors.


This piece appears in my poetry collection “Night, Mystery & Light,” published by Hiraeth Press and is available at the Hiraeth Press website: