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Poetry by James R. Whitley 

James is a Pushcart Prize nominee and author of Immersion (Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award winner), This Is the Red Door (Ironweed Press Poetry Prize winner), Pietà and The Golden Web.  He lives in Massachusetts.




© 2007  James R. Whitley






In My Glass House


When I refuse to give him more money,

my brother—the would-be basketball legend,

the one blessed with good hair and long eyelashes,

the one who ran from his formal education and

the mothers of his multiple children as if

they were all burning buildings and stockades—

feels compelled to tell me I've changed for the worse.


And I don't deny his request just because loan and gift

are synonymous in the language he speaks that's so

foreign to me, rather it's more about being the one

who appreciates the value of learning from falling,

the one changed for the better by suffering through.


He continues spewing corrosive acid effortlessly

through the phone line even as I marvel at how

technology has advanced the modes of combat,

how battles have shifted to more convenient sites—

no more hand-to-hand crassness, same purple hearts.


I think about how unfortunate it is that we are sibling

soldiers on opposite sides of a skirmish that foments

anew with the slightest spark, even as I hunker down

in the plush foxhole of my chenille sofa, as I down

my rations of pumpkin cheesecake and tawny port

and prepare for the sleep of the victorious-by-default.







All work is property of James R. Whitley.




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