Thursday, May 29, 2014



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"

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

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



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 ...


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.




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