Mike James


If I lived among white walls I’d want to find a crayon box.
Some of us want to fuck things up. My gang hates cleanness.

Ted Berrigan said, famously, “I like to beat people up!”
I never believed that. He was a bullshit artist practicing Zen.

Profanity is the proper language of Zen. Ask any monk. Even
Better, ask any blissful drunk. Make sure you have pen, paper.

The Buddha never bathed after a certain age. That’s true
Because I said it. Forget the facts. Stay tuned for opinions.

After a certain point, I’ll only write in crayon. Then I’ll burn
My work for that old fire love and matchstick beauty, of course.


Mike James has been widely published in magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His twelve poetry collections include: 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.