5 New Poems by Poet Lauriate Candice James

Poet Lauriate Candice James

Poet Lauriate Candice James

A Patch Of Black Grass


I set fire to a patch of black grass

Burnt by an unforgiving sun

Peeling back layers of over-ripe skin

On the seeds of this still-life painting.


This day is a fast rolling ball of fire

Chasing me down like a rabid dog

On the heels of a desperate clown

Walking an ice-glazed tightrope

In loose fitting second hand shoes,

All semblance of balance

Tossed aside for the thrill of the kill.

The patch of black grass,

Now embers and ash

Shows traces of teeth and make-up,

Fading, fading away

Into the gaping jaws of dusk.


The night is a slow rolling ebony ball

Striking the last pins of day

Scattering them like distorted doves

Trying in vain to coo,

Stuck in the throat

Of a paralyzed nightingale

Living in a backstreet alley

Littered with dead paintings

And patches of black grass.


Black Onyx Lake


Above the lip of a black onyx lake,

I walked as a ghost in a foreign land,

All around me in a state of flux:

Mountains dissolving;

Sand dunes shifting;

Sky cracking open;

Moon in free-fall

Above the lip of a black onyx lake.


I saw stars being born,

Burning out, disappearing;

Angels in flight touching down on the lake.

I saw high-wires and guidelines

And cities constructed with gauze;

Rainbows shedding their colours at will.


In a moment of madness

The sun kissed the moon;

And imagination’s children were born,

Spilling from the crack in the sky

Onto the poets, musicians and artists

In reverent and sacred free-fall.


I stood as a ghost

Turned inside out

Eyes filled with stars,

Moon, sun and sky

Above the lip of a black onyx lake

Bearing witness to both sides of the dark.


Harbour Of Living Wounds


In a harbor of living wounds,

Taking a slice of the past with me,

I board the winds of change.

With past to the mast

And blood on the sail

A hunger moves through me

Cutting my thoughts

Into chunks of quicksilver liquid.


There are currents beneath;

Stars in the mist

Balancing on the lips of the night

Calling in dangerous whispers.


The dogs of my days

Nip at my heels.

A cat jumps over the moon.


I throw off my ghosts

To the wolves of darkness.

No longer treed,

Walking naked through strangers,

They know me for who I am:

A ghost resurrected

By flames of the night

Burning in burnt out scars

In a harbor of living wounds.




A black luminous disc

More brilliant

Than the brightest white

Opens the hole in my soul.


The disc key

Is whiskey

Blazing me into a dull aching flame.


The atmosphere tightens

In rings and handcuffs.

I’m tethered with feelings

I don’t want to know.


On some level, I’m being reshaped.


Beneath a sheet of tangled words

The scent of fresh roses oozes out

From the twisted corners of need.

A black and white organdy piano

Plays songs for the uninvited strangers

Locked in intimate embrace

And intricate dance steps

On a crumbling black luminous disc

Falling through the hole in my soul.


Dripping with whiskey

And sanctified flames

I emerge

On some other level



String Of Streetlamp Glow


Beneath the string of streetlamp glow

I wander through an echoing rain.

A gloss and shimmer streak

Across the slick wet streets.


I’ve spent a lifetime

Walking these glossy streets;

So many days and nights

Reflecting in the river’s sheen.


Memories drift by:

The serene days of dreamboats

Gliding on stained glass mirrors;

The nights of chaotic shipwrecks

Dashed against jagged rocks,

Blacker than black;

Remembered today

A lighter shade of ebony,

Jagged corners

More smoothed at the edges.


The distant past,

Soltly illuminated,


Echoing footfalls behind me

Beneath the string of streetlamp glow.

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