All poems by james minshall / 2009

Drawings by sarah emily kirk


August 2, 2011

will you do
your pirouette

is my
existence calling

“Breathe” – 1998


August 2, 2011

I dreamt
she had a dream
about me

and for a little while
i was human

i made words
with breath
instead of
only breathing

i made noises
laughing ?
i forget
the sound

she asked me
if i was happy
is silence
an emotion

she offered
to trade wounds
with me

and i


August 2, 2011

Finally divided
between light
and darkness

our seasons
perfectly balanced

not too much
yet sometimes
not enough

Drawing by Sarah Kirk

for summer
burns too bright
while winter
leaves us nothing

much safer
to remain here
waiting on the cusp


August 2, 2011

Should i light a candle for her
or should i light one for me
is it really any different
this death of memory

a desperate search
for photographs
as you dig tunnels
through your mind
you forget the whisper
what colour were her eyes

the acceptance
of the silence
no resurrection
of her smile
to never touch
or feel again
was that her hand
or was it mine


Drawing by Sarah Kirk

so should i light a candle
is it time to say lost prayers
or should i wait until the grave
when i will finally love her

Your Cigarette

August 2, 2011

Every time
i think of her
i light a cigarette

with these
like cancer

smoking me(07) Cigatettes
to death


August 2, 2011

the hand

the brain
turns to concrete

your soul
short circuits

the fear
not quite


you forget
the little girl’s name

is the time
you break

you face
what was unspoken

Post Script : Ms’ery

August 2, 2011

I think
i’m in your

where you
imagine the most
horrible things

i keep
screaming at
you to wake up

and stop
these things about me


August 2, 2011

I want to forgive
but i need forgiveness
i long for redemption
but i’m only condemned
i want to be strong
but i’m so tired of being tough
i want to be reckless
but i don’t want to screw up
i want to be hard
but only when i have to be
i want to be soft
but only when you need me
i want to scream
but only if you hear me
i want to whisper
but i need your breath
i want to be weak
but only at the right moments
i want to break
but only if you pick up the pieces

Post Script : Strong

August 2, 2011

I can be hard
i can be soft

i can be gentle
i can be rough

i can be anything
you want me to be

do you need to hurt me
just show me where to bleed

I wish
i could draw
instead of
moving words

so hard to build
brick by brick
this complicated
maze of feelings

so dangerous
the risk of bleeding
as words penetrate
so difficult to erase

so much easier
to just trace
the poetry
in her smile

Drawing by Sarah Kirk

so much safer
if i could just
draw her this time

i wish
i could draw

Five Dollars A Gram

August 2, 2011

I leave poems on buses
for strangers to find
write them with chalk
in pay parking lots
spray them in paint
on the sides of the buildings
scream them out loudly
to security guards

draw them with crayons
on your bedroom walls
write them in lipstick
for the infinite blondes
burn them in matchsticks
and then start the fires
scratch them with needles
right into my arms

write them in blood
to show that i’m honest
whisper them softly
a shaman’s prayer
write them with tears
an invisible message
trace them with fingers
now lost in the air

Shoot Out

August 2, 2011

I’ve got a pen
you’ve got a pen

let’s meet
high noon
at twenty paces

and aim words
upon each other

you got me
i’m bleeding

ink stains
on my page

at last
you’ve got
your revenge

Safety Pins

August 2, 2011

With an old safety pin
from her grandmother’s dress
she carves her life’s story
into my body

and with every scratch
for every pain she’s received
she cuts a little deeper
and in this way she bleeds

so that the scars
that form upon me
will cover for her wounds
and all that they will see
is the beauty of her flesh

In Her Closet

August 2, 2011

She keeps me in her closet
in the bottom of a box
a faded memory
these feelings
now like dust


Drawing by Sarah Kirk

a photograph that crumbles
and breaks
upon her touch

then falls away forgotten
at the bottom
of her box

Collateral Damage

August 2, 2011

The dark side of me
so beautifully dangerous
has softened in age
an impotent rage

you return the knife
left in your wounds
as you examine mine
collateral damage
that can never
be explained

as forgiveness
becomes your
favorite weapon
until i surrender
to your darkness again