William James

All These Things Are Fragments Of Thought,

All These Details Are Minutia


It is after midnight & outside, the damn dog won’t stop barking.

The damn dog won’t stop barking, & she is asking me to masturbate


over the phone with her because we are 500-some miles apart,

& the damned dog won’t stop barking. It is after midnight, pitch-black


in Pennsylvania, & New Hampshire is an entire day’s journey from here.

She is asking me to masturbate over the phone because she is afraid


of the dark, or the rumor of ghosts in the house, & the damn dog won’t

stop barking. The damn dog won’t stop barking, & I am too far away from her


to be her lover tonight, an entire day’s journey removed from keeping her

safe from the darkness & other frightening things, & New Hampshire is 500-


some miles away, 500-some miles of snow & cold, & she is afraid of the darkness,

of frightening things that only come out in strange houses at night. They say


there are ghosts in the house but I am too far away to be able to hold her,

to keep the monsters confined to closets with doors nailed shut, so we breathe


heavy over the phone, settle for much less than either of us desire,

& that damn dog never once stops barking.




Apiary, Sweet Apiary

for LEF


She tells me that sometimes she wishes we could have been

each others first everything. As if every mouth my own has grazed on

like a starving thing is a bad dream she can’t wake up from,


like my body is a carcass already picked clean by earlier scavengers,

& there is little more than a collection of bones left for her

to sample. She tells me my name on her lips is a colony of bees


swarming in her belly, wanders if my quiet calm is not just the sign

of a dead hive. I tell her it only means the wasps have all gone away.

I say yes, the tunnels they have bored are still there, will always be


there, a labyrinth of leftover angry buzzing that still echoes sometimes

when I sleep, but the only thing left to remind me of their occupation

is dried wings, empty carapaces, that there is so much open space for her


to build honeycombs. Fill with beeswax & gentle, white smoke.

I tell her that for the first time, I am sleeping open-palmed & unarmored.

that I no longer hear wasps screaming in my sleep, but instead


every night is a fat bumblebee – harmless, joyful, dancing

among bright flowers. For the first time, I am licking honey

from the leaves, no longer afraid             of the sting.




William James writes poems and listens to punk rock, though usually in the opposite order. He’s a two-time Pushcart nominee, and the author of the recent collection Everything That Ever Was & How It Came To Be, which is mostly poems about going to hardcore shows and being afraid of things. His poems can be found hanging out in places like Insert Lit Mag, RADAR Poetry, Potluck Magazine, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, & Radius.


website – http://williamjames.whatis174.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/williamjamespoetry