Dating without alcohol


The Buddha nature of affection,

I drank to enliven

Tepid conversations,

Defibrillate a connection,

A time machine to the moments

Under the jurisdiction of lust,

The season of

Skin upon skin,

Fingers tracing lips, sucking

Her scent from fingertips,

Thrusts encapsulate base desires,


While immature sexual proclivities,


In a carnal garden of lust,

Fueled by whiskey sours, ciders,

And joints whose journey from

Grass to flame to ash,

Spread damp thighs,

And fuel

Long nights,

Insatiable thrusts,


Morning light creeps across carpet,

Warms unprotected toes, her

Stretch elicits a long moan,

And she flings her arm over my chest.  


I want to be alone.


Over coffee we discuss


Runny eggs swim around a plate,

Mashed against undercooked hash

Browns, I give her a ride

Home, wondering

If it will always be like this,

A theft,

Of lust from false affection,


We will always

Just take what we can get?

Stealing orgasms from strangers,

The elusive shadow of intimacy,


Through glimpses of past loves,


Across consciousness,

An echo from a fairy tale,

Another life,

A lie.





The hills remember,

As ephemeral memories fade,

Curmudgeonly insects brood

Over gravel paths and

A smattering of shrubs,

While feeble weeds eke out

Of exhausted soil.


The valley extends to an ocean,

Where huge granite warts

Protrude from sand,

An organic,

Moss entrenched lighthouse,

Peers back,

Fifty years to man,

A season to the mountain,

Patriotic engineers eloped

With the idea that’s ensnared men,

For as long as ape brains have captured time;

The romantic notion,

Of sand castles built from

God and country.


Man’s oldest pastime;

Scrawling stories upon stone walls,

To escape the event horizon of being forgotten,

I will die;

Can I be remembered,


Majestic modern structures carved

Upon a mountain,

Giant spheres encasing fragile equipment,

Scanning the sky with invisible lines,

Seeking the dying canary of civilization,

Careening missiles from across an ocean,

To destroy a miniature ecosystem of society;

Living quarters, a rec center, school

And a bar.


Fifty years later,

I come across the ruins,

Of Mt. Hebo Air Force Base,

A commemorative plaque,

Couple pictures, fifteen years and,

Four thousand people,


Into three



Where are the memories that make us?

Moments grow into days,

Blossom into years,

Forever flow

From one to another.


How many humans have pined,

For the temporary stoppage of time?

To extend a beautiful moment,

To eternity?


A photo of four men

Holding a fish.  A sliver

Of a present,

Intertwining lives captured

In a picture.  All sorrows


All mistakes,



Fate manifests secret histories

Among tribes through time,


The unwritten stories behind this picture:

A suicidal daughter split open,

Upon a bathroom,

Corrosive affairs dismantling marriages,

Singed trust shifts to cynicism,

Or a man disowning his homosexual son,

Confusing persons, responsibility,

And love.


I look away.

Perhaps they were kind.


The valley still stretches into the ocean,

I peer across it, thinking

Of nothing.  I am no one,

Only the perception of the hills

Exists, the battered gravel,

Despondent birds meander across

A cloudless sky.


What does the mountain remember?


Donovan James is an artist, philosopher, and writer who lives in Portland, OR. His work has appeared in Vox Poetica, The Chaffey Review, Commonline Journal, and Curious Apes.  He’s also the author of the poetry collection “Saudade.”