All these roads
Only to realize,
We’re all addicted to something.
Trading binge drinking for mainlining
Social connection, sex
For intellectual masturbation,
Anything to avoid,
The immutable

Enlightenment is just another construct,
For orphaned animals to feel in control,
Tribes huddled around
The ever changing fire of concepts,
Sifting embers of solace
From this older sibling of Original Sin
And redemption,
The nephew of evolution,
The latest revision
To cave drawn scrawls,
Projected onto
The stars and heavens.

The Ganges soothes
Mosquito ravaged toes,
And cows meander through heat stricken
Streets, gliding towards
An effortless zen,
While envious humans maintain
The pretense of civilization.

Somewhere, monkey’s squawk
Over rotting bananas, dogs
Nip at fleas and foreigners,
And electron’s elope
With different atoms,
While the spark of neurons reflects
A perpetually fractal universe,
The dregs of the Himalayas
Chime in a distant roar,

They’ve seen this all before,

The ape ponders,
Do distant stars wonder,

“Who have I ever been?”

For I am a pile of mud made into man,
A collection of quarks under the illusion
Of sovereignty,
For a few revolutions,
Of this womb of rock and air around
The god of Fusion,

Who will I ever be?
But a disintegrated mess of energy,
All actions erased
By the river of time,
Enthralled in the grand diversion
Of culture,
Monkeys filling god holes
With status, trinkets, sex,
Or “enlightenment”,
An idea as flimsy as free will,
–an end,
To the struggle, to the journey, to existence,
Experience trimmed by the requirement of language:
I can only say one word at a time,

But the night goes on, and
The Ego snorts self absorption,
Exclaiming importance,
While Perception waltzes with grace,
Don’s the name “Consciousness,”
“It makes no difference.”

There are no grand truths
Only tiny lessons
An endless snowfall
Lapped up by humans
Who careen thirsty tongues upward


The Inequality of Affection

Feeble folk songs drift
Across exhaust coated streets,
While hollowed out Americans
Slurp fifty cent Saigon beer,
Back dropped by the luscious wavelengths
Of distant mountain ranges marrying clouds,
A tan and specked shore,
But all I perceive,
Are your curves, your words, your smell.

Rare dispatches stumble
Across the pacific,
Making surgeons of lovelorn poets,
Who dissect the space between
Precious letters,
The feelings and thoughts
You keep bottled up.

But there’s only room
For passive aggressive theories to flourish,
Worries of your indifference,
Of your bed littered
With discarded interest–
Goddamn this immutable distance!
And the enigma of your words:
“I don’t really feel alone.”


Oh, the inequality of affection,
Where one is left to roast,
And wait,
Words stifled in cement blocks,
For love is suffocated
By force–
And affection won through deceit,
Is such a bitter drink,
And warmth bequeathed through pity
A somber affair,
And lust acquiesced through guilt,
A passionless gift,

Leaving lovelorn poets
To ponder upon a shore,
Of when
Or if, at all,
The recipient of unrecited poems
Will return.

The chorus crescendos into silence,
And you disperse into the horizon,
Leaving only foreign mountains
Dotted with forests…
The beer is warm, the bar
I drink, absently,
Look out over the water,
Where listless embers of empire still burn,
The reeking plumes of terror,
Extending through time.


Donovan James

Donovan James is a writer, musician and cat enthusiast.