Category: New Poems

… forever lost.

By J. K. McDowell

August 2018


A noisy bar, nowhere special, just Tangiers.

In the far booth is Paul Bowles, the expat novelist.

You’ve recently arrived from Paris, never lost.


We really do not know how to count down the days.

Endless, forever, rise, set, none are for us.

Eternity to cross infinity – I’m still lost.


I trace the moonlight across the desires of touching

Your naked skin.  I am awake, but this is your dream.

The Moon interrupts and asks, “Are you lost?”


Are you lost?  An important and curious question.

Is there poetry here?  Another query?

Can we please go back to when the answers were lost?


The pause is essential, then the venomous strike.

Bowles sits in the corner, arabesque tile suites the room.

The hand is near the mouth, the chance is not lost.


The desert – a baptism of solitude yet

No sheltering sky, only the Beloved’s Eyes

And in that vision, I am holy, forever lost.


… the modern.

By J. K. McDowell

March 2018


A banquet of close friends, strangers, enemies

And some pieces of me.  All feeding, yet still ever

Hungry for the quick passing of the months ahead.


There was the Twelfth Night of 1897.

I survived, others attending did not.

The story is unfinished, part one at an end.


Aware, unforgettably aware, moist at the

Surface of the corpse cold aluminum bottle

Of beach wood aged brew.  Tell me, where is the King?


How else do we sustain the ancient virtues?

The blood days are here.  Never heard of virtue or blood?

You know we have much work to do, the time is now.


James, I would not encourage such attitudes.

Poisons are potent potions of past remembrances.

Not every antidote is wrapped salvation.


The suppression of our natures continues.

We are the true monsters who abduct our false selves

From the deep dark nightmare slumbers of the modern.

… Carcosa returns.

By J. K. McDowell

February 2018


No clouds, the lidless eyes of twin suns scorch my soul.

I turn from the dawn, the dark seas glimmer and beckon.

The longing for ancient Carcosa returns.


Poetry reading at The Court of The Yellow King.

Never say no to any lover of your work.

My tear-filled grief for Carcosa returns.


We want the unseen demons beneath the surface.

The crushing depths felt in every cold embrace.

Her desire for the ways of Carcosa returns.


Black stars rise and strange moons cross.

Sparkling cava pours and dark duels erupt.

The vengeance of lost Carcosa returns.


Silent cyphers screaming, the blood days are here.

Tatters of freedom remain and still rein.

James, do not pray that strange Carcosa returns.


Poisons are potent reminders of trespasses.

Any and all antidotes simply delay your death.

Now the ancient curse on Carcosa returns.

… linger.

By J. K. McDowell

January 2018


Midnight.  The end has come, until next we meet.

The unreality dismantles as arranged.

Alas, no traces, only the memories linger.


Andalusian soundscapes with a simple click.

Federico, you’re my best friend ghost poet but

We were never lovers, yet the rumors linger.


Betwixt and between – this is not on any map.

I close my eyes to the digital distractions,

The beauty of your mystery must still linger.


A Monday maelstrom is cleared by a mudslide of grief.

Choked in the sweetness of this spiral dream where

I hear those words: “do you have to let it linger?”


Welcome to the first ghazal of Two Oh One Eight.

James, you might be my favorite poet but

Forgetfulness asks politely, please do not linger.


You shoot the arrow directly into the blinding

Noonday sun.  There are moments when timeless words

Are not welcome and my silent curses linger.

… more recollection.

By J. K. McDowell

December 2017


I am ever becoming a thing of more knowing

And more unknowing.  The spiral unrelenting,

Cuts in both directions, inward and outward.


Perhaps our lives are half dream and half nightmare

Yet we do not know which is which.  Running headlong

Into terror instead of just falling into joy.


A desperate guilty war criminal drinks poison

At sentencing.  Certainly, a form of justice

More humane than an impromptu firing squad.


Careless tending of the soul – the roots and the branches

Interleave, everything becomes inseparable.

Careful tending of the soul – ah, same results.


We all know those connect-the-dots puzzle books.

By your hand, the angel you pencil in, is a demon in my eyes.

This is how abject malice becomes public policy.


Where do our shadows go when we step in darkness?

Tell me James, I know you have done this a few times.

So for you, poetry is not escape, instead more recollection.

… 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.