Two Poems by Mike James


Darkness Is Deep, As Memory Is


There are no miners on the moon.

No one mines there for yesterdays while dreaming of cheese.

Since yesterdays are endless, each is a house without a roof.

The rain comes, but not on the moon.

There are no miners there living with the memory of rain.


Burnt Up Outside Eden


The opposite of your body is what can’t be touched.

     This is known best at sixteen in a long summer field.

You hope to kiss every bit of jewelry on the person

     You are with. The moon won’t help, out early

In late afternoon blue. The moon’s been touched by gloved

     Hands long ago, more than once. More than

Once is a logical progression past one. The most infallible math

     You know involves desire. Desire is a key instead

Of a lock. A matchstick inside a letter. Gasoline in a glass bottle.

     Desire is the ruler beside an open math book.

Measure distance by blessing or by touch. Secrets plus loss plus

     Memory baked in the July sun. In cool grass

We might know burning. The freezing man’s last thought is fire.



Mike James has been widely published in magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His thirteen poetry collections include: Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He has served as an associate editor for the Kentucky Review and Autumn House Press, as well as the publisher of the now defunct Yellow Pepper Press. He makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. More information can be found on his website at mikejamespoetry.com.