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i asked her to dance.

"so,"  she smiles, "dance with me,

I feel like
I'm almost gone

and i want you
to hold me,
she says,
hold me tighter

I want you to feel
my heart beating
and tell me
you'll never
let me go.

will you think of me?"
she asks, smiles,

rain is the night's
beating heart
icy heart,
wind and rain
and a memory
birds are winging west

tired and broken
the ribbon in her hair
footsteps echo
going down the hall

and i could tell by
her smile
she's not coming back

shards of broken heart
fall through cupped fingers    

here comes the night.
 Sep 2023 James Rives
As in the moon is the endless night
And in the sun the infinite flame
The morning glories in a birdsong
And all the shadows in hell
So in my prayer is the plead
To the poet and the devil
“Make a rhyme! Set a fire!”
As in my blood flows ferrous magic
And in my howl demonic rage
early daylight across my face sweeping,
gingerly ginger-yellow heated by the low-
risen sun, it confirms what my beating heart
yet signals, granted us, a new twenty and four,

but no more,

for certainty is not a human condition, so we cover
our eyes, not from the sun-rays, but in deference and
thankfulness and  gratitude, that we have one more chance
to the world distribute, blessed human loving kindness, unique,
the greatest gift most excellent we human possess to give away freely!

Jewely 23, Twenty Twenty Three
 Jul 2023 James Rives
thank you
 Jul 2023 James Rives
you speak in lullabies made of
tamborines, crashing, harmoniously
into the rocky shore of
that one night;
my sand paper scenes and silhouettes,
you painstakingly disintegrate and love.

the layers of this are complex
to the point where we don’t know
where things end and begin.
but your lion heart and hands feel solid
when most things only burn.

Flying wings of orange
forever in a take-off pose,
the pilot a tiny dot of blue.
Slender green stems,
their graceful dance
enhanced by every
breath of breeze,
pointed leaves’
aggressive message:
do not pluck, stand back,
admire, roots invisible,
anchoring each plant
to earth, each flight
a phantom, the eye’s
illusion, each bloom
a tiny fire, born on air,
beyond the pain of living,
beyond death’s denial,
their free infinities
expressing all our
hearts’ desires.
I never learned to weep
But ground my eyes down
On the griststone of a mill
Turned sadness into powder
Then choked on my own weaponized sorrow.
 Jul 2022 James Rives
 Jul 2022 James Rives
pencil shavings and falling snow,
records on the phonograph
playing songs from a lifetime ago

my body, my heart, is sore
and the melancholy mutations
of my future force me to burrow

deep, deep into the familiarity of
razors and a phone that no longer
rings, because there's no one to call
my phone feels useless now that she's not there to call
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