Category: New Poems

… my things.

By J. K. McDowell.

July 2017


Ancient declarations are still relevant.

Tyranny finds the words of Adams, Franklin and

Jefferson less that a delight.  Some know such things.


I am not carrion.  My sky burial is a

Welcome event for the winged demons to

Sweep down and pick away at the tender things.


What die roll will save us?  The campaign seems at an end.

I am trapped at the crux of the matter.

I scream her name: “Eleven” and wait for stranger things.


We flip upside down and foreclose on flim-flam-ville.

A billion-dollar valuation in the cypher

Of a drop of blood.  Extinction brings new things.


The desert sand, cold like snow with no wetness.

A cloud ruined sunrise.  Other blessings, no witness.

And the just retaking of Mosul – atrocities are not things.


Of course!  Despite the remains, the moustache perfect.

Do not carry around last month’s poem and

Please, oh please, James, stop touching my things.


… of endarkenment.

By J. K. McDowell.

June 2017


Enlightenment, malignant in its damp blindness.

The water oak rots from the inside, out of view.

Somewhere a poem mentions my endarkenment.


Impossible things before breakfast?  Try three key

Limes squeezed into a Japanese cold brew dark roast.

Taste, now you know what I mean by endarkenment.


On Thursdays, I despise my imagination.

Sometimes the week recovers.  Savor the holy

Trinity of herbs and scents of endarkenment.


After supper, we talked all night in the olive grove.

The denials stretch centuries past the cock’s crow.

Jesus taught me a lot about endarkenment.


James, you could lie and say that demon claws lead to

Your bleeding arm.  No one believes a poor manicure

And nervous scratching leads to endarkenment.


The storms test our limits as failures fold around us.

The death of a school chum stretches our mortality.

Disenchantment comes with the lack of endarkenment.

… always dreaming.

By J. K. McDowell.

May 2017


See there, in The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,

The moment of the turn and the race decided.

Mud splatter, hoof beats, the winner – Always Dreaming.


A collision evasion algorithm trained on mirages.

Technology’s truth does not serve your selfishness.

Avoid the crash?  My friend you must be dreaming.


There is no escape from the thin fingers of Death.

Dying shadows shift in a Detroit hotel room.

The cards were played and the Darkness was caught dreaming.


Did you read about asphyxiated aspirations?

These crimes continue, rarely lead to death.

Lack of oxygen does keep people from dreaming.


I am caught betwixt nevermore and eternal recurring.

My shattered face in the midnight mirror has

“The seeming of a demon that is dreaming.”


Few things are more dangerous than a Jinn hiding

In a flaming desert whirlwind.  I know James, eyes

Open or eyes closed, you are always dreaming.

… these days?

By J. K. McDowell.

April 2017


I feel the grief of lost days and trampled dreams.

Doomed wisdom is sinking the Solomon Islands.

Flat world, round world, the twisting blade is never good.


These are thirst stricken times when cobras beg for

Water from strangers.  Are your outstretched arms the

Cool embrace of baptism or fangs of vengeance?


Some confuse shell game profiteering for leadership.

Now we all wear white helmets and sift through

The bombed-out residences where truth once lived.


Knives stabbing the looking glass and another

Oligarch dead on the sidewalk.  We count the pieces of

Silver again, certain now we have been cheated.


Dark writings are my forte’ or some like to think so.

Do I want such extreme imaginings or

Terrible visons to haunt my readers? – perhaps.


Shards of crystal are caught in between my teeth.

Bad timing for a month that is toasting poetry.

Tell me truly James, what are you drinking these days?

… focus there.

By J. K. McDowell

March 2017


Have you traced the lines in your lover’s right hand?

The future is there, time to savor the details.

Now look next to the iris of each eye, stare deep.


Have you traced the streaking comet in the night sky?

The day job exhaustions drag you to sleep too early.

The wonders of the world are not nine to five.


Have you traced the tears on a refugee’s face?

Jesus sees the unreported atrocities there.

We are hollow witnesses to horrors and beauty.


Have you traced the panic piling softly around us?

The streets empty, empty of kindness, except

The plastic strands of color: purple, green and gold.


Have you traced the lies that swirl the storms of chaos?

The walls shudder and shake.  The screams – your precious

Collection of poisons fall from the shelf and shatter.


Have you traced the Soul in the dreams of your Friends?

Ignore the trafficking of swipes and clicks and views.

Listen when I tell you James K., you must focus there.

… beginning comes.

By J. K. McDowell

December 2016


They must have always been there, the rotting breath,

The cruel stares, the festering and foul whispers.

Yet, I never ask myself, “Who are these people?”


Choose: the eye of the needle; the head of a pin.

Angels and camels, counting and recounting,

And despite the outcome, we miss the point.


We need to keep reminding each other of

The uncountable connections to the beautiful

And the numinous. Sometimes there is poetry.


Dreams escape us as we cross over to the

Latter half of the final month of a year so

Strewn with carnage. “Are you seeing this too? Tell me.”


At times the creativity coils slow like the

Python. I prefer to just gently tug the whiskers

Of a napping jaguar and see what happens.


James, the “D” stone has no color, lost in light.

There is no perfect diamond, poem or year.

With the deftness of a dream a great beginning comes.

… hidden doorways.

By J. K. McDowell

October 2016


The eyes close, the palms touch, the knees kiss the dirt.

Or a column centers a spinning disciple.

The Divine knows the Heart and the many ways to pray.


I have swept the path all week; all you need is a

Straw broom and the dance steps of Divine devotion.

These gathering blessings mingled among the dust.


Do you know these aggressions and transgressions,

Those above and beyond the usual forgiveness?

I cannot speak for the Divine, here or ever.


The Divine, behind the eyes of the One you Love.

Keep staring, keep dreaming. Not greed or desire,

Rather visions, made real over and over again.


Sweet Divine, never let me go.   I am a twisted

Tight tourniquet in your hands, soaked, stained,

Yet sustaining. Each beat, disaster averted.


There are many paths that lead to the Divine.

James, you never ask about the Kingdom Within.

The secret silent keys that unlock hidden doorways.

… any creative life.

By J. K. McDowell

November 2016


A fresh corpse hangs in the branches and I know

I am now in the right part of the jungle forest.

The question is my Friend, where is the Jaguar?


What blight and oblivion feed his intellect?

What neglect and disregard feed her revenge?

Blades crisscross – know these are not two separate questions.


The air is thin, the spaces between are even

Thinner. Do not panic, a soft breath sometimes

Stays unnoticed by the terrors. I did say sometimes.


I turn my face away in perfect timing

As the multitude of boils on my right arm

Burst in fluidic fireworks. This is a good dream.


The engravings on this ancient skull are not

Postmortem. I wonder at the fine skill and

Psychotropics, the courage of both healer and healed


James, I just finished reading your obituary out loud.

The portraits on the wrinkled bills in my wallet wept in grief.

No currency can lengthen the thread of any creative life.

… come together.

By J. K. McDowell

October 2016


Caustics are of no use against the alchemical

Torments of ones own making. Beneath the grimore’s

Marbled endpapers a formula appears.


The keyboard clack clicks as I tap out the hack of

My own consciousness. I review the code and

Imagine the bytes beneath and the lost pointers.


Istanbul artisans know the gel-git tracing’s

Beneath heaven’s illness. Despite the design,

Worms feed – even on lost feathers of angel wings.


A desire beneath insane digests the lining

Of what I thought was my inner strength. My hidden

Disposition twisting, uncoiled and unpleasant.


Miss G. says, “The place you should go is Tangier.

Alice and I’ve spent three summers there, and it’s fine.”

The demons in the desert were beneath mentioning.


Morocco was already whispering promises in

My ear, the cool burn of claws beneath my scalp.

Sips of whiskey as poem and plan come together.

… in sorrows.

By J. K. McDowell

October 2016


The foyer is haunted by the soft scent of a

Decaying gecko. Some explorers never

Return. We merge and mingle incomplete sorrows.


On a lazy Sunday there is always more

Poetry to be written. The tour of a friend’s

Rose garden is postponed. I sip slow sorrows.


Tomorrow, another classmate’s obituary

Will be printed. Wait, some days this is not so.

Someday this will never be so. Sip more sorrows.


The lockbox is perfumed; the claw is small and

Covered in soft fur. My desires hopelessly

Inseparable from her sweet gifts and sorrows.


Hardware store aisle end cap reminds me that October

Still falls within the Season of Named Storms.

Clouds gather and spiral around other sorrows.


Not home, but wandering the streets of Tangier,

French radio beckons from the corner café.

No dance steps but I am never lost in sorrows.