J. K. McDowell



… heal us.


Our beloved Ophelia was buried today.
I was not there. Too many rats behind curtains.
Too many steak knives at the table – no breath.

Elsewhere we lost two more in a side of senseless
Violence. If these tears of grief were mindlessly
Collected I know I would drown. Please take these gifts.

Salt-water sorrows spiral with a symmetry
That provides no traction, like that black ice that sends
Us sliding through the guardrail and over the cliff.

I was already in freefall before that Thursday
Night. Now watch, all Acadie turns toward a friend,
Toward a neighbor, and yes, even toward a stranger.

We survived storms and wars and shooting and even
The panic and spurts of a broken blood feather.
Stained pages of memory cannot be cleaned.

Despite our blessings, you know that nothing is ever
The same. And please do not ask, “James, are you OK?”
Sadness and grief are not poisons – they heal us.



… be unimaginable.


There are gliding curves that remind me of your kindness.
The crossings are meaningful, serene collisions.
Scarlet scribblings fade in the tears of blank spaces.

At times in a softly shaded red-gold brilliance,
Blended souls lie indistinct in the thin grass
Under the great and low arms of this massive oak.

In these moments of profound joy step out of
Beingness into the thin places between worlds.
Membranes of pure music sustaining silent doorways.

We are lost across lifetimes striving in perfect
Failure to realize that so much is in our grasp
If we just open our hearts and share our gifts.

We know cleverness can take you only so far.
Of course death reminds us that love is eternal.
Awe and bewilderment are written on our bones.

Every moment James, you can stir the spirit to find
A new vantage point and discover a vista
That would otherwise be unimaginable.


… something else entirely.


Sometimes I dream of floating, other times of
Clouds just look fluffy, I can feel their sharp edges.
And lightning cuts you in places you don’t know.

Sometimes I dream of floating, other times of walking.
I followed him off the boat and to the shore.
Sundown, fire on the beach and fresh fish with bread.

Sometimes I dream of floating, other times of diving.
Deep and eye to eye with the squid of my nightmares.
The flash of color and the tearing of flesh.

Sometimes I dream of floating, other times of dying.
The certain things in life are so comforting.
I woke this morning and I will sleep tonight.

Sometime I dream of floating, other times of forgetting.
There is so much beauty here; the greedy soul
Wants it all. Appetite or addiction and the difference?

Sometimes I dream of floating, never of poetry.
James, my eyes are wide open as you turn the
Desert mirage into something else entirely.




J. K. McDowell is a poet, an artist and a mystic celebrating the creative spirit.  An expatriate Ohioan, welcomed into the arms of Acadie, McDowell lives 20 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico with his soul mate who also happens to be his wife and their two beautiful companion parrots.

2 thoughts on “J. K. McDowell

  1. To have the knowing ,then knowing that you don’t but the next word strikes a spark and illuminates a dark heart!


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