Mike James

Three Poems – Mike James

Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Lately, I have less faith in miracles. Relocating the Caspian Sea, one teaspoon at a time, seems less a possibility. The chances of dune buggy taxis being available in my mountain town, more remote. As a child I believed in a tooth fairy of chiffon and glitter, in the nightly magic of closing my eyes. Darkness was an elevator in any direction. When morning came I’d pretend my dreams were hand-colored movies. I’d linger in bed and look for anything which might have moved from the dark to the light and stayed.


The First Born

Then I shall wash his feet and his hands
As my father washed mine
In the copper kitchen sink,
With the window over the backyard
Where skinny chickens ate worms and rocks
And stayed within our fence.
Once a month we had chicken soup.
My father taught me the way to eat soup
Is with blistery hot sauce and salted crackers.
He taught me how to cook with whatever’s near
And to wash utensils as closely as I wash my hands.


Valentine Reversals

“I come back
hoping to leave.”
– James Dickey

The world goes on. I’m here.
As if my feet know no other way.
Again and again.
A circle doesn’t break. That’s clear.
In math, nature, and your name.

So much high talk. Such sweetness.
Such pretend folly. A favorite game.
Easy to change the story from day-to-day.
Wave at neighbors. Wave at the postman.
The circle, big as years, doesn’t change.


Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. His many poetry collections include: Leftover Distances (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), and Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog.) In April, Redhawk published Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021.

3 thoughts on “Three Poems – Mike James”

  1. Lively & imaginative use of language. Deceptively simple. Accessible, unpretentious, user-friendly: Many good things poetry ought to be, & — sadly, too often– isn’t. Sometimes Ironic yet touching. Provocative: Actually, makes one think. (Imagine that!) Oh, yes– A pleasure to read.
    Thank you for the gifts.

  2. Lively, imaginative use of language. Deceptively simple. Unpretentious. Many good things poetry ought to be, & — sadly, too often– isn’t. Sometimes Ironic yet touching & provocative: &– Oh, yes… A pleasure to read.
    Thank you for the gifts.

  3. Really enjoyed the Before Breakfast poem – read it several times over feeling it’s wistful truth – not just for Mike but for me too. Thank you.

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