James Grabill’s poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and online at Calibanonline, Terrainonline, The Decadent Review, and others. He wrote four books from Lynx House Press including Poem Rising Out of the Earth (Oregon Book Award, 1995), as well as Sea-Level Nerve: I & II (2014 & 2015 – Wordcraft of Oregon), Branches Shaken by Light, Reverberations of the Genome, & Schoenberg in the Troposphere (2020, 2021, & 2023 – Cyberwit, India), Eye of the Spiral (2022 – Uncollected Press), Stray Dogs & Irreversible Cars (2023 – Atmosphere Press) & others. He taught writing and global issues relative to sustainability.
But the next present hasn’t surrendered, for nothing’s inevitable
where nothing’s been. What lifts in the blood searches through
space for signs of life. Where half of this day has been night,
half of the night remains some kind of Bodhisattva emptiness.
All we’d need is such a power in the hands of a compulsive
narcissistic megalomaniac who worships himself
knowing he’s not good enough, so he must
distract himself by rejecting even the thought
of right and wrong, forcing the world to comply
icebreaking with melts with lunch
in the lurches of steeples
viral as medical substitutions of unstung stringers however the baby swims
in the bathwater pitch-plumb
for the knickers in venous splashes of bloods
Who were the forgotten first to be kind or to recognize
mindfulness in eyes? When forests guarded the fine-tune
fingertip touch, they promoted overflow communications
between disparate species with mint conditions operating
in the back-roar, in breath without trying, in the classical
days before medical birth.