by James Downs
82 pages, retail price $14.00
There's a Piece Missing From My Heart – Joyce Downs
When James and I were dating, he would always have a pen. He would scribble poems on napkins at dinner. He told me that he once wrote a poem on a balloon. He was very adamant that he would not write poetry on a computer. I gave him a journal. He later mentioned that that journal opened his heart to me, that I was more then just a nice lady in the TV room, where we first met.
Yes, there is a piece missing from my heart. But, James mended numerous broken pieces along the way.
I will always love James. He has a piece of my heart, and I have a piece of his.
James went on to write hundreds of poems on his computer.
This book is a gift to all of us from James and a gift from Joyce and myself to James. So many of us found James to be such a good and constant friend, and such a man. We miss him deeply and always. Poetry is one artistic form that is the truest part of a person to live on because it comes from the heart. This came from James’ heart.
– John Peterson
From the title poem, Low Temples
low temples reached by quiet decision
everywhere around us and yet
we do not enter low temples
low temples flow from us
Many of James' pieces had no title but were set-up in groups. I have tried to follow that here. So, if pieces have no titles that is his option, they are grouped according to the original manuscript.
This volume was put together in honor of James Downs by Joyce Downs and John Peterson.
James Downs passed away on October 10, 2020 after an illness. My love to Joyce and his family and I miss him terribly. A friend likes James is a great gift and I cherish the time we had together. Our press project would not have existed without James.
I met James shortly after starting work in Yosemite National Park. Meeting James was a fortuitous event. We began meeting at Degan's Deli for morning lattes and began conversations that continued for months and then years. We talked about myriad topics including philosophy, politics, music, literature, and poetry. His depth and ease of conversation was enlivening and eventually lead to beginning Poetic Matrix Press. James had been creating small handwritten poetry books (3 X 4 inches) of his poetry. We went on to do chapbooks and over 80 full length books, including his book Merge with the River.
Hope is a Bird
hope is a bird that floats in on its
wide flimsy stained glass wings
and settles on your softened shoulders
waiting hope doesn't know that any
thing is impossible it sits there
with a clear body of anticipation
and waits it waits for you to fling
aside all caution it waits for you to
create a palette of emotion that
will drag you to your leaden feet
it waits for brittle wings inside you to unfold
and beat shake and stretch bring forth dreams
hope sits on tinted shoulders quiet
internal focused bird-contained
and waits for you to sing
digging into tilled earth
i pick out a bulb of indetermined
girth hold it in my hand rub it
for all its worth shine it like a penny
many plants hug this earth in stances
of life-and-death perchance
pulling bulb by bulb up i don't
have my syntax right these plants
are pining for their soil their water and
their light gingerly tenuously i
put them back bulb by bulb and
cover them with blankets of fresh earth« Back to Press Titles