Poetry: Sonja James

New Games

The zone of folly eats away at the border of reason.
As if there were no logic,
as if humanity’s embrace of the surreal
over the cut and dried event were a constant.
I am that bleeding square of newsprint pasted to the collage.
You are Marcel Duchamp strolling at midnight.
I’ll lend you my volume of Neruda
if only you’ll sing of the beauty of Appalachia.

Freedom Song

Once I dreamed of a bucket
full of baby mice,
and yes, the story ends
with their ultimate liberation.
How I tipped the bucket.
How they ran and ran
toward democracy’s cathedral of cheese.

Longevity’s Rainbow

A distracted play of shadow and light.
Candles and lamps enable the legally blind tourist to photograph a peacock.

Since Monday’s sugar reeks of onion,
I avoid wearing red silk.

Then the obvious stupidity of the key,
as eternity siphons the waterfall, drop by drop.

As surely as Picasso hurt his women,
the moon reigns over the sea.

Now deep blue startles the mundane eye.
Someday I’ll fashion a cushion of reeds.

If you could tear a cloud from the summer sky,
would you take its place?

To An Insect

Little bug in the air,
I compare you to Empedocles.
The erratic majesty of your flight
enchants the cat and the mouse.
Old habits die hard among the chosen.
You worship the itinerant clouds
and think nothing of eternal God.
Your nation is a flower in full bloom.
You travel far and wide.
You never suffer fatigue.
Sages approach you with gifts of stolen tea.
I think of you whenever someone carries scissors.

Sonja James is the author of The White Spider in My Hand (New Academia/Scarith Books, 2015), Calling Old Ghosts to Supper (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Children of the Moon (Argonne House Press, 2004), and Baiting the Hook (the Bunny & the Crocodile Press, 1999). Her poems have appeared in FIELD, the Gettysburg Review, 32 Poems, Kestrel, Beloit Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, The Iowa Review, Verse Daily, The South Carolina Review, and Poet Lore, among others. She was a finalist in the 2016 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest sponsored by Autumn House Press. Among her honors are five Pushcart Prize nominations. In addition, she writes a weekly poetry book review column for The Journal, which is a West Virginia newspaper.