Poppies

Fields splashed with the fragile drama
of wispy red flowers.

Opium tar stuck to fingers
like old sex.

Black seeds easily scattered.
Torn pieces of a heavenly nightmare.

Small flame, hot spoon.
Zoom lens on infinity.

Obvious lies. Obvious eyes.
Everything a good nod means.

A touch of blood.
A strong wind shreds soft petals.

They wilt as soon as I pick them.
I can't help myself.



Opium Remnants

No needles. Black tar ball
on the head of a pin
burning smoke sweeter than pot,
lifting us off our chairs at the kitchen table
with the subtlety of an incoming tide.
Inhaling smoke under glass
like I was helping to save the world.
A passing comet whistling in my ears, friends riding it, waving. We'll be back
for you
, they say.
Aretha singing slow blues
over a skipping record.
Skimming Lives of the Saints
for the good parts.


Jim Daniel's forthcoming books include Night with Drive-By Shooting Stars, New Issues Press, 2002 and Diggers's Blues, Adastra Press, 2002. He directs the creative writing program at Carnegie Mellon University.