James Daniel Flynn
James Daniel Flynn is a native Washingtonian who spontaneously
started to write poetry in childhood. Except for the occasional newsletter
or school publication, most of Flynn's poems have never been published.
In the early 1990's James Flynn helped to form a small local band called
"the Way Out", it was comprised exclusively of people who were in
recovery for alcohol or drug addiction. The band wrote all it's own songs
and James was the main lyricist for the band. For a time he was also the
lead singer. Although the band never went on to fame and fortune, they did
play a number of local gigs at clubs in the DC area, such as Dylan's Cafe,
The Rockville Metro Club and the Grog and Tankard ect. In 1995, "the Way
Out" took first place in a battle of the bands that was hosted by members
of Narcotics Anonymous. James continues to enjoy writing poetry and
song lyrics, mostly for their intrinsic value and he hopes that EVP will
provide him with a means of sharing his poetry with the world at large.
Shards of words too jagged to have meaning,
Broken fragments of phrases,
Pieced together like a mosaic,
What was once hopelessly shattered starts to cohere,
Yes, there is order to this chaos and beauty that is just too perfect to be
I want to have a mind like sky,
I want to have a mind of blue,
With starlight, moonbeams, candlelight,
Not to fight or try to cling,
Grandpa, I remember you were full of corny catch phrases and common sense
You tried in so many familiar ways to pass your wisdom on to me.
You believed in those folksy old sayings, this oral tradition, and through repetition
You were more persuasive than you will ever know, and I was more attentive than
Even though I seemed to scoff at those old clichťs' and your words seemed to pass
It amazes me now, so many years after you have passed away how often I reflect
Now when I find myself parroting some glib expression to my family and friends
I think about you Grandpa and how insightful you really were, with your folksy
ĎSpeaking truth to powerí, so leftist, so clichťí, but as with everything else in life,
How about Salman Rushdie and his Satanic Verse? That got a fatwa placed on him,
Or how about this songwriter, her name is Ash Soular, she wrote ObamaNation and
The death threats followed quickly, it seems she went too far. This Ďspeaking truth
Hereís one you never heard of, her last name is Nasrin, her books are banned in
Islamic demonstrations, demands that she be gagged, it seems this Ďtruth to powerí
Now their calling on the FCC to censor old ďFaux NewsĒ,
Sequestered in my modern cave with stereo and microwave,
An open room with scenic view, a cozy chair and TV too.
While incense burns in other rooms, I lay inside my hidden tomb.
Icarus ascended using artificial means,
The light is was entrancing,
The blaze it grew much hotter,
The flight is was exciting,
No poetry comes these days to break the haze of rumination.
Church yard gate swings in the breeze,
Praying that new hope is born,
Duplicitous streetlight beams down on us,
Two young lovers reenact expressive lines
Through the cafť window some sad guitarist plays,
Now these are only memories of candlelight
Of steaming cups of java, and overfilled ashtrays.
Dreamy nights in Smokey rooms,
Itís funny how this imagery still means so much
Still I know we canít return to a distant memory.
Dirty Bob, scratches his crotch., shares his wisdom with me.
From the streets, to Vietnam , to the penitentiary,
And now from some semblance of recovery Bob blurts
ďThe game goes on twenty-four seven, only the players
Enamored by inanities, desultory display,
Angry admonition says you better watch your step,
Synaptic transmutation whips out some new word play,
Subtle supplication prays a bonfire for mere words,
I remember it was Friday night in Georgetown,
Sitting on a stoop and panhandling with a pocket
Drinking cold beers and telling off color jokes,
We were having a grand time, makin a public
Guess people thought we didnít give a ratís ass,
Then the cops came and arrested us, shoved us against the wall,
Managed to pull my Houdini act, got my hands free and
Small act of defiance,
Part of the disease.
Sitting in the holding sell, I gave Tim my last ten bucks,
Had him call my dad to come and get me.
Dad showed up drunker than I was,
He started yelling and screaming,
I guess he didnít.
Part of the disease.
Wisconsin and M, a passerby panhandles me for a smoke cause heís ďonly got is the habit.Ē
Itís a vagrant street scene with beggars on every corner, fashionable, yet slightly depressing, a mixture of the Ďsheik and the schlock.í
The wealthy and weary on the same pastel painted streets that wend past historic buildings, restaurantsí and boutiques.
Suddenly a fashion plate model steps from the pages of Vogue magazine and whisks past a wino who is trying to spare some change. She keeps a stiff upper lip, has no intention of giving him the time of day.
She leaves him in a trial of Estee-Lauder, so he sits to rot in his own decay.
Me, I sit and watch from the Cafťí window and I wonder how the world got to be this way.
I guess I live in two worlds, not rich enough to enjoy the wealthy worldís obscene display But I have enough to rent my roof, to buy my bed, to stay off the streets for one more day.
Violet orchids breaking ground, gentians blossom new-
Springtime sits upon its perch, the quetzalís plumage too-
Everywhere you look is smeared like colors on a page-
The bolder brush, impressionistic, blurry outlines fade-
Everythingís a Grand Monet, a dappled palette strewn-
While twisted tubes of oily paint lay cap less in a room-
What is it that we try to say in streams of consciousness-?
That leaves their tendrils chasing us through open fields
Cygnus constellation of the Swan,
What starlit gaze swims these stellar streams of serenity?
For so long, for so longÖ.
Eternal drift beyond the shadow of the Cypress tree.
A calmness on the surface belies the churning of his web like feet.
And where, where does this journey lead?
Beyond the germination,, growth and death of every seed?
And what, what is always churning underneath?
Pushing us towards our wants, to fulfill some need.
Perhaps there is no destination, hence the Swan and his leisure pace.
Taking in the scenery, gliding smoothly, in no race.
He breathes deep the fragrant air, swimming slowly he seems aware,
That there is no final place to reach,
Always mindful of the lesson, that just through being one can teach.
The wayfarer deluged in the sultry air,
On the self same shore where he had begun,
Discernment not disquietude now shown upon his face,
The demeanor of a man, who has seen and knows,
Watching saffron sunsets,
Empty verses, words that rhyme, pointless phrases pass the time.
Slow sand trickles, hourglass fills, time is ticking, ink well spills.
Candles dripping, feathered pens, images of way back when.
Words that weather, tests of time, empty verses, words that rhyme,
Pointless phrases, made with pens, images of way back when.
He said, ďI know enough about pain to write in volumes.Ē
ďWere all destined to want and wander, and to wonder if
ďFor more than thirty years Iíve been a rambler,
ďYou see son, you can always chase those rainbows,
Insignificant other, know just how that feels,
A lesson in futility, denial of whatís real,
Itís worse than total solitude,
Too devoid of self-respect to demand
Youíre treated well.
Maybe Iím a wacko, maybe Iím a clown,
Maybe Iím a slacker who just wonít settle down.
Maybe Iím a gypsy, maybe Iím a bum.,
Maybe Iím a misfit living in a slum.
Maybe Iím sailor in search of un-sailed seas,
Maybe Iím a drifter, who drifts eternally.
Maybe Iím a fruitcake, maybe Iím a slob,
Maybe Iím too lazy, to go and get a job.
Maybe Iím an artist, maybe Iím a slave,
Maybe I want some freedom, before Iím in the grave.
Maybe Iím a dreamer, maybe Iím the dream,
Maybe I am coffee and maybe Iím the cream.
Maybe Iím invisible; perhaps I am a ghost,
Maybe Iím a butterball and youíre a piece of toast.
Maybe Iím moronic, perhaps I am insane!
Maybe Iím just too darn smart to think I have a brain.
Maybe Iím a seeker, maybe I am sought,
Maybe I am someone, who never could be caught.
Maybe Iím elusive, maybe I am slick,
Maybe Iím not falling for those dirty little tricks.
Maybe Iím a hobo, hopping train to train,
Maybe Iím a migrant worker picking at your brain.
Maybe Iím unstable, perhaps Iím really wild!
Maybe an adult and maybe still a child.
Possibly Iím mixed up, possibly quite sane,
Either one is possible, though neither one is plain.
WHO AM I?
Straining at my heavenly gate, knocking on my door,
Silver lining of the clouds, precipitous of rain,
I guess itís simply Ďin like Flynní, the point at which
For love of Truth, we must sing, this anthem of awakening!
Itís a sterile world of glass and steel; concrete corporations mass appeal,
Hereís CD-ROM with Mega-Bytes to dominate your thoughts tonight,
Weíll program you to earn your check, itís nothing sinister as you suspect.
Produce and consume the American Way?
Youíll have to slave to get your pay, and youíll never seem to earn enough to purchase
Itís the perfect plan for the modern man; youíll need a house, a car, a van.
Next you will have to get a job, in the wheel youíll become a cog.
Concrete corporations here to stay, so get to work and earn your pay,
ĎTil the entire world is glass and steel, nothing natural, nothing real,
To your ambitions youíll be enslaved, youíll work yourself into an early grave.