Two poems by James P. McNamara




keep grip to the trinkets of self when you

lock the door behind in the morning

these baubles of identity

hold to them as a kite

hold to them as a hammer


coat these facts thickly about the chest and shoulders

do not leave that last step without

your final skins

stitch them tightly together


earmark the favored passages of small bravery

recall them when needed

cite often and under your breath

on that last step ignite yourself to the velocity of survival



Cool water in the rag

Draped across the forehead

The heat transmitting through the gut

wiggling vines into the dull ice

beneath the skin of the extremities


The smell of vegetables hitting the boil

The steam bottled from open windows fattening the air

lodging a barrier between the throat and lung


The TV rambles gently fluctuating tune

Vicks rough crystalline scraping curling from sinus to mouth


Occupied, my grandmother spoke from the kitchen

She applied her medicines as I rustled

All my 10 years of independence took pause

groaning through sweat and chills

– James P. McNamara

Categories: Poetry