Wednesday, December 24, 2014

O Come, Emmanuel ...




O Come Emmanuel ...

the prairie flowers of my youth
the heat of summer romances
the certainty of autumn's colourful promise
the fire of hope bending a boy into a man
i remember so little now
as the days drift by
like empty seedpods swirling past in random gusts
rising and falling aimlessly in a cold wind
a wind that throws a veil of snow
over tired eyes searching for a way home
a journey under stars less distinct
and less inspiring than ever before
not stars so much as candles in dark windows
that flicker once or twice
only to puff out mercifully in a trail of lazy smoke
and though the road is icy with hardship
though the destination seems forever unknown
still the sound of your voice
singing "O Come, Emmanuel" to me on the darkest winter's night remains
still the softness of your touch
wiping the frozen years from my scarred cheek remains
still the scent of your flesh
wet and careful against my flesh remains
and so i am writing these last desperate words
to promise what the wind
and the stars and the frosty paths
could never know
for as surely as this body will falter
as certain as life will rush from the ebb and flow of this heart
and as sadly as this voice is silenced by the dust and ashes of passing
i will in that final and defining moment
remember
you



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 






 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

untitled




Thanks for your interest and all your kind comments ... take care ...


 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

unfinished stories




unfinished stories

on the platform
at the train station
over the noise of jumbled languages
and the howls
of crying children
she curses at him and leaves
with an angry turn of her head
and a hand that pulls away from his shoulder
and flicks at the emptiness
of her life without him
angry and hurt
she pushes her way
through the collapsing air
of the moment
somehow ominously wet
against her cheeks
where it clings like an unforgiving acid
eating its way
through the future

he watches her leave
smells the scent of her perfume
escaping in ghostly vapours
feels the imprint
of her arms
which just moments before
were tight around his shoulders
hears her voice
drifting into silence
shudders at the sight of
her long coat
trailing behind her
like a wedding veil
and he closes his eyes
turns off every sense
to memorize
her face
her scent
her touch
her voice
puzzle pieces fitting together
in an image of her beauty
and seals it in his heart

before the sun sparks light
into the summer sky
she hurries through the doorway
and down the walk
but catches only a glimpse
of taillights already fading
down the boulevard
towards the irreconcilable corner
and into an unforgiving unknown
so she holds onto a lamppost
steadies herself with one hand
and aiming
with as much strength
and certainty
as she can muster
she fires the revolver of love
at the disappearing car
but she is already too late
and her shot
though straight and true
somehow runs wide
somehow misses its mark

he stands by the bed
of the little girl asleep
and his rough hand reaches
for her soft cheek
which he strokes gently
in the dark of this
his last night listening to
the easy cadence
of her quiet breathing
and if he thinks she is waking
he freezes
into the immovable bronze outline
of something still and inanimate
until he is sure
she has returned
to the steady rhythm of sleep
when he whispers her name
at the end of a final blessing
and steps from her room
and from her life
forever

she remembers something special
something that twitches its way
like a ghost
out of the moonlight
perhaps the way he stood by the fire
or the way he looked at her
across the kitchen table
his soft dark eyes piercing
the very fabric of her skin
and sending her into a strange reverie
of helpless joy
until just as suddenly
the moment is gone
and she putters with the trinkets
set carefully on the mantle
next to the photograph
the only part of him
left unchanging

he writes to her from faraway
lines of hope inked
in gentle words
to ease the wounds of her fear
and he writes loving phrases he hopes
will divide the distance between them
by half
and then by half again
until his hand stutters
and his faith stalls from exhaustion
but before he collapses into ever-sleep
he turns the pages over twice
and seals them in an envelope
which he holds fast against his heart
and brushes against his cracked lips
that leave behind the bloodied seal
of a last kiss

the wintertime is coming
and the frost on the windows
tells unfinished stories of love and loss
of the brightest hopes
and the darkest sorrows
of disappearing yesterdays
and impossible tomorrows
if only it were a dream
a nightmarish sleep
from which we could wake
but the truth is too cruel
too impossible to escape
always returning in a river of sighs
when the best of love
disappears
beneath the flood of
unconditional goodbyes

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Make A Wish ...




Make A Wish ...

Make a wish.

Go ahead. Don't be shy, don't be a cynic or a skeptic, and certainly don't sit there on your itchy derriere and get all pompous by saying something like, "Hmm ... that's just stupid."

Make a wish.

After all, you probably don't realise it, but you're making wishes all day long. You wish you had slept longer, you wish you still fit into last year's clothes, you wish you didn't have to work, you wish you had someone who loved you, you wish you had someone who didn't love you quite so much, you wish you had more time to yourself, you wish you didn't have quite so much time to yourself, you wish for this, you wish for that.

The world is just full of wishes.

Some of those wishes even come true.

But wishing never really depends on whether or not your wishes come true.

Wish after wish can blow up in your face with a ~poof, and, yes, it may seem that, heck, what's the point of wishing if there's no payout. Oh well, that's just life, isn't it?

No matter how disenchanted you get, you will always be wishing for something. It's probably some kind of cosmic law that human beings wish, wish, wish. Nature of the beast, I think ... something like that.

Of course, some things you wish for are simply impossible to achieve. You can't wish for immortality and honestly hope that your wish will come true. You can't wish you were fifteen years old again and expect to wake up tomorrow with a runaway case of acne. You can't wish that what has been done could be undone — like you can't say to someone, "I wish you were never born." OK, you can say it, but God forbid, it's not going to come true.

By the same token, it's never a good idea to wish for something that depends on the actions of another person. For example, you can't say to someone, "I wish you loved me." Hell, that person either loves you or doesn't love you. You might as well say, "I wish you weren't you." What you have to acknowledge is that maybe you have the wrong someone. Cripes, wish you could find another someone who might love you the way you dream of being loved.

You see, you can wish for possible things. You can wish for happiness, you can wish for health, you can wish for some extra cash, you can wish for a night of wild sex, maybe even a ménage à trois — all these manner of things are attainable. But here's the rub ...

You have to remember that you are a partner in your wish. There's no magic genie in some vinegar bottle at the back of your fridge who will simply plop the fulfillment of a wish on your plate. Whatever you wish for involves you. Only you and what you do can make a wish come true. Only you and what you do can start a chain of events that will lead to ensuring that your wish actually shows up and becomes a part of the reality that is your life.

Say you wish that you could lose 20 lb. That seems reasonable enough and is certainly possible. However, you have to participate in making that happen. If all you do is sit around on the couch eating cupcakes all day, you're probably not going to get your wish. You might even get the opposite, and instead of losing 20 lb, you may actually gain 20 lb.

Here's my point. You can't wish your life away. You can't wish for this or wish for that, unless you are honestly willing to be a part of the process that makes even the wildest wishes not just fantasies, but real-life possibilities.

So make a wish, and then make that wish come true ...


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



 








 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

if the moon ...




if the moon ...

If the moon were bright
And the stars just right
I suppose there'd be no need
For love,
But the day brings storms
And the evening swarms
With hordes of the darkest clouds.
Still I can't help but wonder
If beyond the harsh thunder
Lovers will be embracing tonight.

If the sun were to rise
In clear eastern skies
I suppose there'd be no need
For love,
But the night's unforgiving
And it's dark for those living
Behind veils, tapestries, and shrouds.
Still I can't help but assume
That the glow from every room
Is the glimmer of love taking flight.

If the years were to wane
Without heartache or pain
I suppose there'd be no need
For love,
But it seems that every tomorrow
Spreads more anger and sorrow
Like the fury of unruly crowds.
Still I can't help but dare
Say that love is everywhere
Exchanging the dark with an unfailing light.



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lost & Found




Lost & Found

i see you there in the
Lost & Found
half-hidden under a collection
of scratched sunglasses
and a decent fountain pen
bleeding black over
foreign scribblings
on a postcard from
somewhere in Spain
you are wearing
your sky-off-blue frock
the one with a crinkled
white paper rose
pinned just beneath the neckline
and though your hair
is a tattered nest of bees
your bright red lipstick
is only slightly smeared
above your soft upper lip
and though your eyes
are hidden behind
a cracked drapery of faded
sea-green eyeshadow
underlined by teary rivulets
of charcoal mascara
i remember the clarity
of your bright look of love
and have returned to find
what i so easily lost
here at the counter
after so many
winters-waiting

i wonder if you wonder
where the wings of time have
carried me
or if you are angered
by the choices i made
to travel roads mapped only
by the dullest stars
leaving you to wait
with a simple sticky-note promise
pressed against
your patient and loving heart
a vow that quickly
became unglued
and fluttered
in an unforgiving parabola
to the cold floor
of your despair
where i can only guess
that your search for hopefulness
robbed you of love's
most vital air
and left you gasping
and grasping
for a reason to believe
in something
you could trust
something hidden behind
the obvious
until at last
you must have questioned if
that something was ever really there
at all

i'm not asking to be forgiven
for the indifference
of my past
i can't patch
the cracks in the windows
of your soul
stained
translucent white
by the frost of words
that never arrived
i can't build an altar
in a church
of steel and brick
to protect the holiness
of your unfaltering beauty
from a future scare
i have only a simple prayer
that might rekindle
what was there
hoping to find fire
in the ashes
of what went cold
hoping you will turn to me
open your eyes
and see
that i may not be
what you wanted
or even what you needed me to be
but i'm here
to reclaim your heart
or with a simple goodbye
to set you free



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

circles of time




circles of time

the girl waiting to become a woman
smiled as she watched me
from across the room
her clear blue eyes
stuttering in anticipation
like the hands
on an ancient hallway clock
counting down the seconds
the minutes
the hours
the days
the months and the years
that she had endured
to arrive at this single axis
in the unending circles of time
and as she peeled
the bed covers aside
i said a silent prayer
that i might not falter
through the rise of night
and the urgency of desire
to be the one for her
but i hesitated
a second
a minute
an hour
a day
a month and a year too long
and what might have been
slipped by in an instant
sending her drifting into shadows
with only a final whispered thought
that every moment embraces
every other moment before it
and defines all the moments
yet to come


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

once certain, twice removed ...




once certain, twice removed ...

i miss my youth
the prairie roads
carving poetry in
fields of dappled gold
a summer's harvest reaching heavenward
to the toppling clouds
of a never-ending sky
where every imagined
beast or beauty
was caught in the reflection
of the big rivers
that poured like holy wine
into a young boy's veins
a sacrament of sorts
you'd think
but more and more
a tattered collection of memories
not quite lost
but lost all the same
i miss the danger
of falling in love
with a perfect stranger
unexpectedly slipping into my life
of imperfection
i miss the jarred butterfly pandemonium
and the nervous excitement
of hands wandering across
the skin of unknown bodies
the silly giggles of encouragement
and even the whispers of
hesitant rebuke
i miss the softest cheek
against my cheek
when lips wander
to lips
to share the breath of love
and breathe the pulse of life
from heart to heart
blending the two into one
i miss the slow waking
from solitude
into arms that wrap
across my shoulders
and coax my body
from the cold
and carry me
into the warmth of knowing
that dreamers live
lives asleep
i miss the missing
the times apart
the you there
and the me somewhere unknown
so high above the world
in vacant night skies
the time or distance
or both
that divides improbable lovers
from one another
the words and promises
that reach across
crackling telephone conversations
of wounded longing
i miss the purpose
the obvious reason
for being who i am
that i see in a knowing look
from bright expectant eyes
or that i feel in the soft fingers
that brush my hair back and away
from my brow
but mostly
i miss every day
when i might have said
something hopeful
and was silent


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

i live in a box of paints




i live in a box of paints

i live in a box of paints
nowhere near the mauves, magentas, or pinks
and certainly not cosied up to
the yellows — not even the ones
that pretend to flame into orange
i'm more inclined to linger
over here
by the blues
swimming between the tropical
cerulean smudges and the heavier
glops of navy
and most always stopping
just short of
black ...

at times
i furrow into the profundity
of red
something of an excess
i suspect
but only
when i feel a little wild
and reckless
or full of a passionate desire
to brush
bold and careless strokes
across a human canvas
leaving behind a small trail
of seminal inspiration
but little in the way
of art ...

when winter comes
and the world adopts
a cosmological white glacé
over twisted
half-hidden shapes
of brown and gray
i sometimes dream
of a pastiche of greens
from jaundiced lime to the darkest emerald
a spectrum
defining the sleeping bud
of springtime
that strange season
of beguiling tinctures
soothing the chill
of empty spaces
with a smear of hopefulness
never quite completely forgotten ...

i live in a box of paints
hidden from view
by the tortured stack
of half-finished
portraits of you
awaiting
a second inspiration
or some returning regard
for what was there
for a moment
before my eyes faltered
and the perfect
combination of colours
bled to mud
and the beauty
of bringing the inside of love
outside from the closed closet
of mere imagining
disappeared
completely ...



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

dem bones




dem bones

dem bones
dem bones
dem dry bones
an' lawd have mercy
was a time
i been so glad that
all dem bones got connected
to all dem other bones
da knee bone to da thigh bone
da thigh bone to da hip bone
and da hip bone always a-jump-jivin'
like youse was pumpin'
for oil under the
Sacramoose Sands
pumpin' so hard
i could hear
the clickety-clack
of yer bones a-rattlin'
under my bones
in the manner of
shall we say
me gettin' right t-boned
in da ooh-la-la
of yer doo-da-da
oh yes baby
yes, i stills 'member
all those days & nites we spent 'gether
shuckin' along
an' shuckin' along
all the way
to paradise
with you screamin' for Jesus
and me just ever so quietly
hearing the word of the Lord

dem bones
dem bones
dem dry bones
was like sweet sugah
spooned over liquid honey
da way
you danced dem bones
'round the room
throwin' flesh to disregard
and sure as mornin' rain
i did loves the way
you strutted and staggered
right up to da day
you swung me over
in a sudden pas de deux
'n' disconnected my swollen luv bone
from alla yer slip 'n' slide bones
for what ya said was now
and for forever
leavin' me high 'n' dry
to drown
in the flood my blue despair
like youse didn't even care
just so smoothly pinning
my desire out dere
with the wash on the
backyard clothesline
my alone-bones waving in the wind
over all dem other bones
dem dry bones
in the fallowed graveyard
of all yer former lovers
who surely
like me
didn't 'pect to be
quite so suddenly
hearing the word of the Lord

dem bones
dem bones
dem dry bones
now i ain't one to harbour
no ill-will nor no sour-mash grudge
i ain't one to muster
up a batch of black tar
and feathers
to makes you a smouldering
winter coat of revenge
but, honey,
done wrong is done wrong
and so i guess
it only stands to reason
that a man played
is a man betrayed
and as pappy used to say
every circumstance has a
consequence
still it's no small matter
when my teeth still chatter
drivin' over the ruts of the Shushwap Levy
and i hears the cold hard clatter
of yer bones
dem bones
dem dried out bones
in the trunk o' my rusty ol' Chevy
i can't help but wonder if
while you was high-steppin'
thru death's door of disconnection
that oh-so-simple one-two-three
jitter-bug chugga-lug into eternity
y'all ever got the chance to
knows it was me
who gave you the nudge
and was sendin' ya on yer way to
hearing the word of the Lord


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.

 







 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

i don't want an angel . . .




i don't want an angel

i don't want an angel
an ethereal Material Girl
with something of an angle
wispy if not lispy
and wearing eyeshadow a little too blue
full of feathery words
that drop in clumps
across the mattress
in the afterglow . . .
and i don't want a Holy Mary
Mother of God
with her tightly-crossed legs
and a faraway look
in her eyes . . .
and i don't want a silver-screen goddess
with platinum hair
and a taste for diamonds
who always seems ready
for a John, Bobby, or Teddy
but who inevitably
and regrettably drowns
in a bubble bath of unkindness
that she unwittingly drew for herself . . .
and i don't want a princess promiscuous
who races from her boring life
in the fast lanes of Paris or Pakistan
and barters her once royal pussy
for a little leftover notoriety
until her hopelessness explodes
her lifelessness falters
and like a Slinky in a fashionable black dress
she ends crashing down the stairs
just before the winds of gossip unwind
and blow away maybe 50 birthdays or more
and though some might eulogize her
with the twisted metal frame
of a silly Candle In The Wind metaphor
the sad truth is
you can't blow out a candle
that was never really lit . . .
and i don't want an I Got You Babe
neither Bono or Ono
with her fingers of glue
that stick to my prick
while she closes the shutters
around my life . . .
and i don't want a Fat Bottomed Girl
with her diva disregard
and her sense of self-importance
that drags me along
like a Basset hound on a leash
in the fart lane of her
cross-stepping runway walk . . .
and i don't want a Joan Jett Blackheart
some self-indulgent maid
dressed in robes of the darkest night
whose self-loathing
taints the world with
a poison that infects
everything around her . . .
and i don't want a 10
or even an 8 or a 5
if attraction is calculation
then just think what that says
about masturbation . . .
and i don't want a sad-eyed Sister of Mercy
who remembers the war
and the wounds she nursed
with snowy-white sulfanilamide
or the erections she betrayed
with doses of saltpetre
repeatedly whispering
The Lord is my Shepherd
as she led desperate men like thirsty horses
to an empty trough
and expected them to drink . . .
and i don't want a femme-fatale
a Clytemnestra, Cleopatra or Messalina
a Delilah, Jezebel or Salome
a Mata Hari dancing for me
in the other room
calling to me in a too-manly voice
that begs me to surrender
the secrets of my passion
so that all that is me
might become only hers . . .
and i don't want a pubescent Lolita
with bright red lips
pursed over an even brighter red lollipop
as if to show me
how adept she is at the art of fellated sucking
posturing her every exaggerated pop and smack
into a four-way foreplay
relentlessly appealing to an inevitable unpeeling
of so fresh a forbidden fruit
that once tasted
sours in an instant . . .
and i don't want a fairytale casualty
a Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Snow White
with her oh-so-immaculate complexion
her trilling voice
and a perfect lift to her B-cup breasts
all doomed it seems
to a suspiciously daunting magic charm
that sends her into some kind of paroxysm
ending in a deep and unyielding coma
that only a prince's kiss can undo
for i'm certainly no such enchanted prince
and kiss her if i might
i'm certain she would never awaken
even if i slipped her the tongue . . .
but most of all
most of all
yes, after all is said and done
i don't want to be alone
and so i am waiting
as patiently and honestly as i can
for you ...


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.

 







 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

the guitar player



the guitar player

in a café almost forgotten
behind a queue of red brick buildings
he plays notes of romance
over the frets of
his worn guitar
nothing too maudlin
and certainly nothing soaring
into the flight paths of wingspun fantasy
but something more solid
something almost reassuring
and in that music i find solace
in the comfort of knowing
the next note
and the next break
before his fingers find it
so that the actual ring
of each string
becomes a harmonic echo
of what i have already heard
until a sudden change
tips the scales of my expectations
confuses the trail of
my bread-crumb life
and awakens in me
a discordant swirl of blind confusion
and in that moment
i know what love is


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.

 





 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

threnody




threnody

the wind whispers
indistinct phrases
that blend into the patter
of a summer's rain
on a tin roof
and in the confusion of sound
i hear what
most i fear
a voice gone silent
and in this pall of dread
i remember your beauty
however twisted and reversed
in the reflections
of puddles too soon passed
in a single step
but these folds of reddest satin
do not enshroud a happier past
instead becoming the shredded
rags and ruins
of all the tattered dreams
we once shared
until at last
i gave up hoping
gave up believing
that you might be there
waiting in the somewhere
of this journey
along the road that leads
at day's end
to places beyond nowhere

i have traveled for so long
i no longer remember where
i have been
and if i stop and consider
then i guess i have to admit
i guess i have to concede
i have no place left to go
except maybe some
lonesome purgatory
where dusky ladies drink
shots of the holiest wine
and offer solace
in the crevices
of their bodies
but little more
and i wonder if time
had not crippled me so
i wonder if i should live
another decade
or maybe two
but only i confess
only with you
by my side
i wonder and i wonder
would i ever be able
to tear the ruffled
curtains of contradiction
away from every window
and at last turn the key
that opens the door
and sets you free

i wish i could count
the kisses of our love
but like a small boy counting stars
i stumble and i fumble
when in an instant
one flickering light
is gone from the splatter of space
leaving a furious trail
in its wake
before disappearing
into forever
and sometimes i wonder
if love's like that
and sometimes i wonder
if my thinking is straight
or bent like smouldering iron
beaten and broken
on a blacksmith's anvil
i guess that the best i can offer
is news i heard along the way
back a lifetime ago
when the teachers
of heartache assured me
that romance is dead
shot twice on a prairie road
before desire
could give way
to desire
shot twice in the loneliness
of a flint-cold afternoon
before passion
could find the spark
to light the dust remaining
and set it on fire

and yes i know
you have read this before
and yes i know
the words grow tedious
and maybe sometimes cold
in the endless
beat of repetition
like waves spraying up from
the seawall of my division
catching sunlight in flight
before crashing like drops of salty tears
across swollen eyes
and for that
i am ever sorry
just remember me
as a man who offered
the world a bouquet
of words and phrases
entwined with the mystery
of weeds and thorny branches
some simple conversation
that i have never claimed
to be miraculous
never even guessed i understood
beyond the sound of my own voice
just know that all that
i have written
i have written because
i had no choice


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

forever is ... forever




forever is ... forever

these are the scraps and pieces
of the life you left behind
a torn photograph
a clutch of letters
and a heart divided

i've kept them long enough
and maybe just a little too long
so i've packed them
in a cardboard box
to send them back to you

you'll recognise the photograph
and the words you wrote to me
but the half-a-heart
that was always yours
may not be familiar anymore

i've heard you've fallen ill
and may not make it through the year
the kids say that you've been asking
for me to see you one more time
and i can only wonder why

so i'm sending you this poem
like the ones i wrote for you before
the ones you tore to pieces
when you said you were leaving forever
and left me broken and alone

but now forever has finally come
and i hear your sad failing voice
calling to me from the darkness
from the cold and empty hallway of regret
from the place i have tended so long

light a match to a candle
light a spark to the smallest hope
and know that i was here yesterday and the day before
waiting for you to call at last
but i'm simply not here anymore
 






 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

clink




clink

something borrowed
something blue
and along the curve
of my thigh
the staccato of needles
forms the indistinct
letters of your name
in an irreconcilable tattoo

"This is for us"
you say with a half-smile
"A symbol of our love"
and then with an emboldened half-grimace-laugh
"You can never leave me now"
finishing as if to add emphasis
"You must never leave me ever"

clink
the wedding guests tap
silverware against fluted cut-like-crystal glasses
and in the din
you raise me from my loathing
and press your hot wax lips to mine
to seal the envelope of time forever

the dawn surfaces
in the arc of a dolphin
out of the hoary cold waves
skips a heartbeat from under my breast
and lands in the sudden certainty
that what is unfolding is not what i wanted
that what i vowed would be will never be

the ring sours on my finger
cuts at the knuckle
and gangrenes the surrounding skin
with the poison of indiscreet promises
i have become the shadow of secrets
living in temporary romances with faceless lovers
who offer the comfort of mystery and nothing more

clink
the gold-strung key-to-your-heart spins the lock
that seals the prison door of your ever-watchful eyes
and traps me behind encrusted iron bars
that divide me from the other-where
and leave me in a half-light
silently waiting to break free
 







 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Umbrella




Umbrella


One day in downtown Encino, Jesus H Christ (Son of God, King of the Jews, Alpha & Omega, Original Celebrity Apprentice) was standing in the rain at a bus stop and waiting for the 808 West.

I shuffled up next to Him, not too close, you understand, because I've heard that He has a kind of magic touch that might send me spinning into some kind of miracle, and to be honest, I'm pretty content with the way my life is now.

Maybe, I should have minded my own business and kept my distance, but the man's white muslin robe was really starting to get wet, and I couldn't imagine what it would soon smell like. So I offered Him a spot under my umbrella. I mean, what the heck, He was a short dude, thin to a fault, and I couldn't imagine there being any problem fitting the both of us under a bit of shelter from the storm.

I faked a cough, which caught His attention, and I said to Him, "Come and stand under here with me, if you like. Get out the rain ..."

He looked at me with these kind eyes, and He smiled a little, just a lip smile, you know. No teeth flashing, and definitely no wink of the eye. He is, after all, a straight guy, I'm pretty sure of that. Nowhere have I read that He was ever into the gay scene, despite the fact that He kept twelve guys around Him most of the time. Well, He looked at me and said, "Thank you, I will share your umbrella." Then, He kind of glided under there with me, and I immediately realised that He was taking up much more space than I thought He would. Not only that, but He nudged me outside the sheltered area, and my left shoulder started to get a little wet. Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't upset at getting a little wet, because, obviously, this is an important Guy. Still, I was wearing a new shirt, and I was a little afraid that the colour might run, so I pushed Him back a little.

He turned and looked at me with a peculiar expression, sort of a mixture of disbelief and despair.

"Sorry," I said quickly, "my shirt ... I was just getting a little wet here on the shoulder."

"You offered Me shelter," He said in this kind of droll voice that you usually only hear in places like Atlanta.

"Yes," I confirmed, "but I thought we could share it equally."

"And you think I'm taking up too much of your space?" He said softly but with just a tiny bit of a snicker under the words.

"Well, to be honest," I threw back, "You're a little bit bigger than I expected."

"A common misconception," He said sadly. "I will leave you to your umbrella, I can stand a little rain," and, with that, He stepped out from under my umbrella and back into the downpour.

I felt terrible, of course. I mean, I felt like I had just disappointed this very important fellow because of a little rain on my shoulder.

"I'm sorry," I offered. "Please come back under the umbrella."

He turned and looked at me. He had something of a haughty expression on His face, and to be honest, I never expected He was quite so human. I always sort of imagined Him to be kind of above all the human frailty stuff. In fact, for the briefest moment, I though I was in for a huge bit of drama, when all of sudden, the pouring rain stopped like someone had shut off a faucet, and the sun began to shine brightly in a clear afternoon sky.

"Well, that's a better solution," I said to Him with as much sarcasm as I could muster, because, really, what He did made me feel small and just a little insulted. "Nothing like a little miracle to solve a problem," I continued. "Just think how great it would be if everyone had that power. Just think how fabulous the world would be if every time things didn't go someone's way, that person could just whip up a little miracle to make things right. Why the divorce rate alone would plummet deeper than the stock market."

Then the strangest thing happened. I was about to fold up my umbrella when He reached out and put a soft hand on my arm, just above my wrist, and said, "I could use a little shade ..."
 







 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Here's My Number ...




Here's My Number ...

I am not one of those people with a fancy, "smart" phone.

In fact, my phone seems pretty dull at the best of times. I'm not sure it got past fourth grade.

It manages to call out once in a while, even though it sometimes confuses the Pizza Nova for The Yellow Dragon Chinese Restaurant and Take-out. The poor elderly once-upon-a-time-Geisha on the other end of the line hasn't even the remotest idea what a double-cheese Hawaiian is, but is quick to offer Chicken Balls. Huh? As if chickens had balls, right?

It'll call 9-1-1 lickety-split, but only when I'm drifting around in the blue stationwagon and I need someone to talk to. That may happen more than it should, I guess. Lately, the 9-1-1 operators are so used to my bothering them that they put me on HOLD ... I can't imagine what they think a real emergency is, but I guess if some racially-profiled guy breaks into my apartment and shoots me in the leg, I'll bleed to death before I get the whole Emergency Task Force to fire up their sirens and come to help.

It rings sometimes, even has about six different ringtones. I'm never sure what ringtone belongs to which caller, so for the most part I treat them all with equal disdain. I simply never answer my phone. I figure that people are calling to do one of two things. Either they want to sell me something, or they want to complain about the comings and goings of their lives.

I never buy anything over the phone, and I don't need my ducts cleaned or my carpets shampooed. So after about a hundred thousand of those calls, well, you give up answering. Simple.

As for the people who call to share their misery, good grief, they're even worse that the most broken-English telemarketer. I know we live in a sometimes grief-stricken world, but hey, there's no need to spread it around like Cheez Whiz on a stale piece of bread. I guess some folks like those kinds of telephone conversations and maybe even get some kind of emotional orgasm from the drama, but not me. Misery is contagious. I don't ask people with the latest flu-bug to sneeze in my face, I don't have a yen to step from the curb when the bus comes by, so the same is true about answering the po-me line. I simply let it ring.

Of course, there's this silly voice-mail option on my phone, and some callers feel it necessary to leave me a message. Some people leave messages that rival The Bible in length. On and on they drone about the silliest things. What's really silly is that they think I'm going to play back and listen to their messages. Uh-uh ... I never listen to my messages. In fact, I used to call myself when I was out shopping and try to fill that mailbox thing up, so that no one else could leave a message, but someone told me that I mustn't do that.

"Someone might be calling about something important," she said. "Someone might have died in the night. Wouldn't you want to know that?"

Well, if that particular someone is dead, I don't see why we all have to know immediately. After all, dead is dead. Tomorrow isn't going to change anything.

OK, I will admit that I am curious about late-night phone calls. You never know ... could be a "booty" call. To be frank, I love "booty" calls. Must be the pirate in me ...

Still, booty calls can often go awry. Once, an ex-girlfriend called around midnight and asked, "What are you doing?"

Now, I'm not as stupid as my phone, so I knew right away that she was asking more about what I might like to be doing than she was about what I was actually doing. It was a difficult moment for me, because I had just finished doing what she probably had hopes of doing. I really wasn't sure what to say, so I just blurted out, "There's already someone here, but I could put you on the waiting list, if you like ..."

That didn't get a reasonable response. Just a loud "CLICK" in my bad ear ...

What's worse is that the someone who was there stirred from her sleep and asked, "Who was that?"

The best I could think of was to say, "Some Chinese lady asking about Chicken Balls ..."

 







 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

the slow dance of love ...



the slow dance of love ...

you drape me in the velvet of your skin
you spill lace lips over every nerve
and every pulse that yearns to fire
in a straight line to ecstasy
i am so restless and ready
to swarm over your body
like bees from a fallen hive
but find the urgency of desire
drowsing instead
in the smoke of your eyes
and i quiet under your beauty
under the murmur
of your whispering
words that fall
like cool petals of rain
in some serene splash of a misty mantra
that numbs the world's drone of noise
and the uncertainty
of too long a journey
searching for you

your hands soothe
and soften my passion
as your fingers tumble
over a patchwork of
rough seams and sewn scars
over the etchings in skin
of a wounded life
and where your fingertips stop
you melt each trace
of yesterday's sorrow
into new flesh
that bubbles to the surface
like a first breath born from beneath
the darkest lake
to find its way to light
and when i am renewed
when i am yours
for you and only you
your fingertips trace the
way to my longing
and carry me into the first chords of the future
as we embrace and begin
the slow dance of love


© Kennedy james. All rights reserved.

 







 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day

Today, in North America, it is Mother's Day.

I wanted to write something smart, maybe something a little touching, maybe something that would have you reaching for the box of tissue and give you a moment's pause.

But I have learned over the years when it is best to be silent, especially when my daughter writes on Facebook and sums it all up so much better than I ever could.

Here is what she wrote:

Dear child, I am sorry I am always busy as a mom. Always cleaning something, cooking something, folding something, but the truth is, I'd rather wake up and paint our nails a new colour every morning than stand at the sink and wash night-time bottles. I'd rather sit down next to you during lunch than take you eating as an opportunity to throw in a load of laundry or wipe up something sticky on the floor. I'd rather be watching late afternoon cartoons with you than making dinner. I'd rather run outside at twilight and play in the park (mosquitoes and all) instead of all the rushing to get you bathed, teeth brushed, story read and into bed. I'm always here but not always present. There is not enough snuggling, not as much time for fun as I'd like, not enough hours to chase you and watch you laugh. Mother's Day is special because it's a day where we force moms to put everything down and stop. Mother's Day is less about me and more about you. I love you my child. Happy Mother's Day.


Erin and her girls

 





 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Ghostbusters ...




Ghostbusters


I've been thinking it over, and lately I've come to wonder if there really are ghosts among us.

No, I don't mean those translucent blobs of smoky white that you sometimes see in the cinema.

Ghosts of a different nature. Ghosts that, some nights, simply send a crawling feeling up your back. Ghosts that, on other nights, seem to have the appearance of someone you once knew, someone almost corporeal who flicks by the corner of your eye in your peripheral vision.

Sometimes, I recognise these people, but other times, I couldn't, for the life of me, say who they were.

When I moved into my ivory white tower, 25 floors above the ground, I was unpacking and trying to arrange furniture around boxes of "stuff" on my first night here. Suddenly, I happened to see my late mother standing at the kitchen sink and washing unpacked dishes. In the next instant, she was gone. I was startled, because she had passed away some 40 years ago, and I had never had any kind of spectral experience with her ghost before. But there she was, doing exactly what I might have expected her to be doing had she still been alive and helping me unpack.

It was an eerie sensation, and I remember saying to myself, "Damn, the air must be pretty thin up here ..."

Then Larry showed up.

Larry is a resident ghost. I don't think he is partial to hanging out in my place much these days, but in the first year that I lived here, he was very much a going concern.

Larry is not a friendly ghost, but neither is he all that malicious. What Larry likes to do is break things. Since moving in here, I have had Larry breaking most of the glass and crystal that I brought from out west, the fragile memorabilia of my youth. First, he flipped a cherished vase that my mother owned right out of my hands and into a thousand pieces across the kitchen floor. Then it was a crystal fruit bowl that he edged off the counter and left in a pile of fractured pieces. Soon afterwards, a priceless wooden carving, a memory of my time in Paris, was casually tipped off the top of a bookshelf and into three pieces. Nothing was safe — cups, plates, candle holders, all these went asunder under Larry's determination to make my life as miserable as possible.

Then, Larry up and left without a word or crash or shivery shatter. The last I saw of him was when I was coming home one night, and he flicked by the doorway at the end of the hall. Yes, I was surprised to see him al all, but there he was, not quite a vapour, but not easily describable. Apparently, he had found a new victim for his haunting. I'll admit, I chuckled at the sensation. I almost missed him, but then I have never been much good with rejection of any kind, even the welcome kind.

Now, if we assume that some departed spirits are lingering in the corners of our lives, I find that possibility somewhat disconcerting and terribly tragic. The common notion is that these spirits have some unresolved business left behind after their departure from the living world. Unrequited love, unfulfilled promises, expectations gone awry, jealous disappointments, hopes and dreams cut short, incomplete plans and projects ... any number of these things might supposedly cause the dearly departed to decide to forego the "bright light" at the end of the hallway.

It's sad, really, terribly sad.

In a perfect world, every individual's journey among the living would run its course to completion, and death would simply be an exclamation mark on the great experiences of a full life. Of course such is not always the case.

Ah, well, there's the rub ...

Fail to live life to its fullest and you're bound to fail in death as well.

As I used to tell my kids, "In life, some win, some lose, but we all get to chose."

So it goes ...


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.

 







 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

why not pretend ...




why not pretend ...


why not pretend
to love me
and imagine your hand
drifting through dusky space
to entangle my hand
like a veil of silk
stitched into and over
seams of torn leather
and together
we will cross
the steel-girded bridge
from reluctance
to consent
and find our way
to the other side
of desire

why not pretend
to love me
and follow the dream
through to its end
before the sound
of midnight's creaking door
splits the darkness and sends
a crack of fractured light
that wakes you
and breaks the hope
into fragments
of broken gray tiles
so completely shattered
that no one should have
to fit the pieces together
ever again

why not pretend
to love me
and turn the killing
bullets of displeasure
into carefree butterflies
drifting skyward
in an unexpected
summer's breeze
higher and higher
until at last
they become the dust
of stars
in a twilight collage
of petals
floating beyond the moon
on the deepest blue night

why not pretend
to love me
and let the armour
of your icy resolve
melt into the softest bindings
of threadbare lace
unravelling in a heartbeat
and falling in a heap
at your feet
leaving you there
in the candlelight
expectant and sure
undressed but not unwilling
to discover
the end
of pretend



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 






 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter




Easter

Hippity-hop ... hippity-hop ...

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again.

Easter.

And I see that damn little rabbit has been around already. Not that I mind so much. I mean the chocolates are great, even though I can't really eat them, well, not more than about half-a-dozen of the little foil-wrapped nuggets. The rest I just save for my grandchildren.

I'm not a big fan of the rabbit poop, though. You'd think that whoever dreamt up such a cosmic creation like the Easter Bunny would have left out the urgency in the little critter to leave little round crappies all over the place. Some folks, who are getting on in age, may not be able to tell the difference between what are chocolate "eggs" and what are pods of poo. One bite and the difference should be obvious. If it's not, then, yes it's time for the "home," where someone can monitor your every move.

Of course, Easter is a big-time religious celebration for some folks. It's the day of Christ's resurrection and all that. I never figured out what the deal was with Saturday. After all, it seems odd that He would have to wait a day for the express bus to Heaven, but there you go ... maybe it's another one of those lessons in patience that I've been hearing about so much lately.

Patience ... one of life's great virtues.

Not many of us are really very patient. We seem to live in a world of instant gratification, and we hate waiting for anything. In fact, most of our modern conveniences are designed to speed things up. Instant coffee. Instant messaging. Instant oatmeal. Instant replays. Instant karma. Cup-a-soup. Minute rice. Then there's the microwave. No one wanted to wait for dinner, so we invented that faster blaster to cook microwave dinners and a bag-o-popcorn lickety-split. And let's not forget the airplane. At some point, we got tired of trekking across the miles in a stage-coach, so we invented a way to fly. Now we can get almost anywhere in a matter of hours. It's a cool gig, as long as your plane doesn't do a U-turn and end up at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Worst of all, I suspect, is that we have no patience with ourselves. We fuss and bluster over things like being happy, having enough money, making friends, ticking off those items on our bucket lists, falling in love ... well, you get the idea. Hurry, hurry, hurry. We're always hopping around like the Easter Bunny, sometimes without a clue where we going.

Hopefully, you still have your wits about you and enough self-control not to leave a trail of little turds behind you.

So, Happy Easter ... enjoy the chocolate ...



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Looking Back ...




Looking Back ...

You said to me, "Shoot for the stars, boy, there is no limit to what you can do."

When I crashed somewhere close to Jupiter, you said to me, "Land on the moon, boy, you've still so much to be proud of."

And here I am, looking back and remembering what you said.

Looking back? Looking back ...

Sort of a summing up, I guess. Sort of a post facto judgement on a life. Really, not something I am inclined to do.

But here I am. Looking back.

So much effort exerted to make things work, when I knew things were not going to work.

So many emotional commitments, reaching for that invisible connection, and so many broken promises.

So many hours, days, and months spent alone, testing the spirit that burned inside of me, and watching that spirit soar and crash, crash and soar — the repetition over repetition of experience.

So many people wandering in and out of my life, and so many who left their baggage by the door for me to find an appropriate means by which to dispose of it.

So many best friends, and so many lost friends.

So much time, so much time filled with wonder and excitement, and so much time wasted from simply wandering aimlessly in search of something tangible, something to hold on to and grasping at air.

Life bleeds from every wound we suffer.

The miracle is that we continue at all. But we do continue, because that is what heartache and failure teaches us to do. Continue. There really is no other option, at least not a suitable one.

And still I remember you saying, on a dark and foggy night, "I can't continue without you."

And my reply was glib, when I said, "You managed well enough before me, you'll manage now."

Life bleeds from every wound we inflict on others.

And we expect those we hurt to continue as well, to survive the dissolution of their faith in us. It's not cruel, because sometimes it's absolutely necessary, but all the same, it's heartless.

Looking back, I suppose I wish that I had been kinder, more forgiving of those who trespassed when I left the door open to trespassers, more honest with myself instead of second-guessing and mistaking the intentions of others, more ready to recognise that those I thought had come to help build a house and a home were those who came to burn the house down instead. I have never suffered fools easily. I am amazed that I was, too often, the fool.

Life is a series of invitations that arrive in the mail. You are invited to take part in a series of celebrations, in a calendar filled with joyous events, with birthdays, graduations, weddings, the birth of your children, the successes of your career, the beginning of your retirement. You are invited to love and complete yourself in the arms of another. You are invited to embrace every moment as if it were your last. There hardly seems room for sadness.

And yet ...

... there is sadness.



© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 






 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

girls divided by girls




girls divided by girls


i fell in love
with girls adorned with
freckles that crossed
the bridge of their noses
like the dabbled spots
you see on a newborn fawn
frozen in fear and lying
so very still
in the woods
girls with the same camouflage
draped across their cheeks
and even some
with a gentle splash of pepper
running across
and down
their soft tummies
but those girls
if i remember correctly
did not lay still

i fell in love
with girls who wore bleached
blond hair
piled high
and held in place
with scented hairspray
like a crown
on their heads
girls with baby-blue
eyeshadow smeared slightly
from the flutter
of their lashes
with skin draped in peach fuzz
and with the whitest smiles
that beckoned for attention
and mistook every passing desire
for love

i fell in love
with girls in denim dresses
who smoked rolled cigarettes
and on occasion
let a swear word
slip through their chapped lips
girls who hated
rules and expectations
and who traveled across
the country with nothing more
than a small backpack
and a thin sleeping bag
who ran from day's end
and only rested
late at night
in the crook
of my arms

i fell in love
with girls who wrote pretty words
in beaten black journals
and with a turn of a phrase
and a mixed metaphor
condemned the world
that they were sure
had spit them out
girls with a conscience
but who could never decide
right from wrong
and instead searched
for the ambiguity
of some dreamy
universal love
even though they did not know
or allow themselves
to feel the passion of
love at all

i fell in love
with girls who gave me joy
and girls who left me heartbroken
girls who offered careful promises
and girls who offered only recklessness
girls with stars in their eyes
and girls who hid behind an endless pain
girls disguised in the colourful costumes
of a childlike fantasy
and girls who stepped from empty shadows
to embrace enlightenment
younger girls and older girls
quiet girls and loud girls
dull girls and bright girls
girls breathless with longing
and girls moaning with pleasure
and through it all
i never found the love
never ever caught the heart
of you
the mystery of my life
the one and only girl
who slipped like the wind
past the hopeful reach
of my dreams
and vanished
with the best of her spirit
gone forever
from the best of mine


© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


 







 








 
 


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