Along this Way, without Red Shoes
My hands get sweaty when staring at any door marked CONFUSION. Also, I get giddy
from sugar or an unexpectedly granted wish. If I read directions, I might make right
choices. As it is, I don’t even believe my horoscope. Scorpio is not in alignment with
Saturn beneath Kentucky’s blue moon. I’m willing to grab any doorknob if I can hold on
long enough. If there’s a front porch, I feel like I’m falling. I dream about a mountaintop
toss sometimes. Most days I have the urge to walk backwards. The world is the same that
way, but not the order.
There are mermaids here, the same as in Thailand. Which seems appropriate since
a sailor’s shanty is the local fight song. If you are looking for trouble, they have every
desire which starts with z. Palm readers blush over expletives when they share good news
and hand care advice. An exactly noon parade reminds every one of the time and to eat
lunch and that they are not in New Orleans or Kansas. Lunch coupons are a popular
currency. If you forget to bring some, street vendors can supply you in exchange for your
Saturday Consolations, Once Again
Each morning my cat needs her neck rubbed.
She’s moody, purposeful with her needs.
My day starts when something happens.
I try to make myself do things.
If the day looks gray, I make excuses.
If it’s blue, none are near.
If I’m lucky, I find a used bookstore I haven’t seen.
I can always find a want if it’s a little ragged, right in front of me.
If you guessed I love a good thrift store, then we could be friends.
There’s something to be said for half-price and, at least, second-hand.
If I don’t shop, then I’ll walk to the park.
Read some bathroom graffiti and claim it as mine.
It’s easy to say what I do once it’s done.
Hindsight, an always, is sometimes clear.
Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has been published in numerous magazines throughout the country in such places as Plainsongs, Laurel Poetry Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Tar River Poetry. His fourteen poetry collections include: Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), and Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog.) He has served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and as publisher of the now defunct Yellow Pepper Press.
A great interview from Albany Poets is available here.