Category: Uncategorized

New Work: “… so drink.”

… so drink.

By J. K. McDowell

November 2017


The clocks turn back, but no hour of sadness is lost.

Jays screech and morn the oaks gone before the storms.

No restful shade, no escape, shallow breath, sunlight glare.


Custom alloy wheels melt in the street, shimmering.

Modern metal cannot endure ancient grievances.

We are burning, send for a shaman or a poet!


I wake up.  Now the cracks in the paint are bleeding.

Something is not working; I bought the wrong primer.

Another project gone malignant and awry.


Free falling – all night long – I think I love you.

You are Dead at what: 66, 64, 67?

Numbers beyond my father, maybe not me.


“Not at an End” – poetic words you once wrote James,

Before blasts and bullets ripped through quiet prayers.

As-Salaam-Alaikum – Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.


Whiplash of emotion, yet this is where we thrive.

Tears stream from sugar cane joy to rock salt sadness.

Absinthe green pales to the white of arsenic – so drink.


… few endure.

By J. K. McDowell.

September 2017


This darkness is sticky, more like napalm than grease.

I am lost burning beyond a soothing coolness.

The question saves me, how much more can I endure?


They circle, high, out of sight, but your scent is an

Easy trail.  We need these vultures of conscience

To pick clean our hypocrisy.  Some pieces endure.


We debate the Spiral – its meaning in crash space.

The crypto-key dissolves in the bright discussion.

Rest assured my Friend, everything will not endure.


The mailbox is full of the stings of scorpions.

There is not enough time to plan anything.

The future ruined your reunion, yet you endure.


Help us James, aren’t you the brother of Jesus?

The promised ending never comes.  Please, tell me how

Many more second comings do we have to endure?


See this geomancy traced in the desert sand?

You know the spelling of words that are not spoken.

Poets share an understanding that few endure.

… 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.

… Not at an End.

By J. K. McDowell

January 2017


No worries, I am here with you in this darkness.

Open your eyes and see what I see in the brightness

Of your own heart. Vision spirals anew and beyond.


Illusions abound, veils and curtains shift unseen.

Some dreams melt away; others sift in a soft breeze

Or in the whisper of a lover. Moonlight helps.


The Tyger and The Beloved know the horrors

Are asymmetric. Yet the answers to most

Of the rhyming questions the poet asks are still “yes.”


Did you see the Moon tonight? What if the answer

Is “no”? What if the answer is “no, never”?

You really are lost, aren’t you? Not sure what else to say.


You realize too late her eyes are two arsenic

Mirrors. Chemistry confuses alchemy and

Death confuses Love. There is that moment James.


The night is dark, an air painted pinot noir.

The wine glass is empty, so few drops of kindness.

Two Oh One Seven? No, the world is Not at an End.

… 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.