3 Poems by Mike James

A History of Capitalism

Two cafeteria skeletons fight over a chicken bone. Neither knows the foxtrot or the jitterbug or the hustle or the tango. Little chance the fight will turn into a dance off. Likewise, neither skeleton ever held a rusty cast iron butterfly while it dreamed of flight. All the skeletons know of flight is contained in the chicken bone.

The cafeteria is closed and otherwise empty. The white tile floor mopped to a best left whiteness. Outside, two beggars stand at the window. They call to others on the street to come bet on the action. Soon, they will sell tickets.

Anyway, It Was In October, I Think

You can try to make it shorter, I overheard her say.
I was already late for the bus. And the bus might be early.
So there’s a distraction right on the corner.

Distractions are boredom’s everyday gifts.
We rush out the door and realize: No keys. No pants.
And, unlike last time, oops, it’s not a dream.

It’s lovely to see who arrives in our dreams.
Ron and Nancy dropped in. Ronnie was giving a speech.
Nancy was eating a green apple, as she always does.

I never remember what I do in my dreams.
Maybe I’m a clown others pretend not to see.
Maybe I juggle while others talk or eat.

Juggling is not something I can do in waking life.
If I toss something straight up, gravity invariably betrays me.
A good toss postpones betrayal. Late arrivals, be damned.

Astronomers Sitting on Rocks

Astronomers playing hopscotch with stars
Astronomers playing checkers with stars
Astronomers not playing chess with stars
Astronomers playing dominoes with stars
Astronomers using stars for crossword puzzle answers
Astronomers sitting on round rocks, in empty fields, thinking of new names for stars
Names like Dream Box, Yesterday, and Revere

Mike James had recent work in Chiron Review, River Dog, I-70 Review, and Main Street Rag. The most recent of his many books is Journeyman’s Suitcase from Luchador Press.