5 Poems by Candice James, Poet Laureate

Candice James, Poet Laureate

Candice James, Poet Laureate

The Absence

In the absence of all,
Walking beneath the big blue tent,
Clouds drift and scramble impatiently
Across the vast expanse of sky.
Night claws its way over the edge
Staining the blue
Like spilled ink.

Alone on the path
I search for another set of eyes
In the semi-glow of dusk.

Somewhere
There is water
Scrubbing the back of a warm beach.
Somewhere
There are sheep
Wending their way home
Under the weary gaze of a shepherd boy.

Here
There is only bruised sky,
Blue turning purple, then black
In silent right of succession.
By the time it reaches me
Another set of eyes
Will be impossible to find.

I clasp my hands together
In the absence
Of one to hold.

The Cold
© Candice James, Poet Laureate

Sub-zero weather
12 below and a killer wind slice through me.
Bundled in jeans, sweatshirt, parka, scarf, gloves
And a leather fur air force cap that buckles under my chin
I pad through the back lot
Toward the din of the diggers, backhoes and jackhammers
Ripping up the sidewalk.
The flag-girl smiles, weaves me between the dump trucks
To the other side of the street.

The things we do for our vices.

I emerge in the outdoor patio area
Of the small strip mall
Sit down at a small table with my peeps,
Pull out a white stick and a blue butane,
Flick it into flame and the white stick
Glows with a red ember end.

We talk a bit of small talk,
Laugh a lot, smoke our sticks
And drink our brown liquid
Hoping it will warm us up. It doesn’t.
We are shivering. We are cold.
The world is cold.

I head back to the street noise,
Diggers, backhoes, jackhammers,
Flag-girl and torn sidewalk.
Sub-zero weather,
12 below and a killer wind slicing through me,
I wonder,
When did the world turn
So bloody, bloody cold.

The Illusion

Off on a tangent again,
Tripping through geometric illusions
And circles of another brand,
Without my trusty slide rule.
I’m slipping and sliding
Down a tilt-a-whirl arc
In a carnival of haphazard numbers.

There is sense buried somewhere
In this land of triangular treasure chests
Encase in invisible chains.

H2O above.
H2O below;
Rain on the ocean.
Mist on the sea;
And Houdini’s keys
Laying beside a rusty protractor
Caught in a bottomless
Bed of kelp.

Off on a tangent again,
Encased in invisible chains,
I become the illusion.

The Sands Of Eternity

Caught in the obtuse angle
Of a one-sided thought,
My mind circles
In square root patterns
On a canvas of shifting sands.

Sparkles sewn
Into the pale gray carpet I lay on
Form diagonal paths
Across the ink-stained pages
Of my consciousness.

In the distance,
Growing louder as it approaches,
A disembodied flute plays
In a harmony of circular echoes
Held in invisible dance
Nuzzling the rain
Blowing kisses onto the wind.

I walk through sun shadows,
Mind strum rainbow songs,
Sparkle for a brief moment,
Then melt into the sands of eternity.

The Understanding

We are knee-deep
In our own patterns of eternity
Weaving the destiny we wear
Mapping the world we create
Stumbling through dreams,
Tripping on nightmares,
Cutting our teeth on the knife of life.

Visible and invisible,
Peeling hours like oranges,
Sharing slices of time,
We are ghosts
Filtering in and out of sky and soil.

Dreaming we’re lying awake.
Awake we’re inside the dream.

We are vapid expectations
Of our own personal poetry
Filling page upon page
With fog and sunlight,
Moons and stardust.

Waist deep,
We begin the understanding.