Monday 4 February 2013

2 Poems by Jim Davis

Night Birds of Monterey

The ocean leaves subtle brine
On their skin as it dries. The day is spent swimming
Through pages of thought: catalogue of romantics,
Thieves of history. The question, Can you sleep?
Can you sleep through the night
Without turning over, she said
Yes, I can sleep.
Waves hushed the lingering gulls
Pecking at small pieces of meat near the shore.
Palm fronds, the chirp of an otter, touching chimes.
Yes, I am sleeping.
Towels hung over the porch rail. He reaches out
Over hills, carved rivers, the folding fields between them
To touch her hip. Elegant Terns fishing the lagoon
Have settled. The last Snowy Plover buries itself in sand.
He reaches. Nothing. I am sleeping, she said
To the wall of an empty room. Silence
Interrupted by a freight hauler calling
To coyotes as it splits the prairie like a steel comb.
You’re dreaming, she said. You must be.

Beating Pacific

Beheading saintdom, so goes the plot of those pining hours:
night, creeping like mice along pantry baseboards. Climb upon the
unencumbered platform, raw slices of fresh canvas, unafraid

of the void, covered with the color of evening, pressing
the level weave of gesso’d fabric. In somber hill country,
constellations like Cepheus, Draco, Ponce de León, &

a surprising delivery of Salt Peanuts by Dizzie
Gillespie, Charlie Parker & three other horn blowers
that no one could name. Original light begins the same, with-

in an object, then without, spread over the known world like our
immediate terror, lost in a crowd. In a sea of hands
& hips, hairy, vascular calves, or blue jeans with unidentifiable

script of their seams, the forgotten child will grab the closest hand –
lost only upon the realization that the hand he holds
is as foreign as the hard rib of an eel hidden in the dinner he will eat

years later, sitting on the lip of a fountain near the site
of the housing market crash. White mist. He thinks if he ever saw
a pineapple tree, how hard he would shake it. My God, he sighs,

I’d ring its trunk & catch the breathless fruit in its fall. What night,
he insists, beating the Pacific with his fist, holding tight
to the girl of his dreams: what star-lit, jug-wine, bell-struck night.


In addition to my career as a teacher, poetry and painting are my greatest passions. I graduated from Knox College with a degree in Studio Art, and I am hoping to begin the Creative Writing MFA program at Northwestern University in the spring. I have recently been nominated for Best of the Net consideration by Lascaux Review, I have won the Line Zero Poetry Contest, Eye on Life Poetry Prize (2nd Place), named Runner-Up for the Best Modern Poem by Chicago’s Journal of Modern Poetry, and I have received multiple Editor's Choice awards. My work has appeared in Seneca Review, Whitefish Review, Blue Mesa Review, Poetry Quarterly, and Contemporary American Voices, among others. My first chapbook, Feel and Beat Again, will soon be available from MiTe Press, of which Boston Literary Magazine said: "Canny, brilliant and unerringly insightful, Jim Davis lives in a world where nothing is ordinary."

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