talking with strangers

shore leave 

what couldn’t be sold
we left for the landlord,
clothes spilling over
the kitchen ransacked.

a suitcase, nothing
else to check in
feeling quietly superior
in the knowledge of that

suit on my back
already rain scared
leaving books unfinished

perhaps there was
reason in that




would you come
for the waters the air,
that’s bitter but clean.

the Victorian brickwork
on which people slaved.
just like they still do,
back home in your country.

could I entice you
with the promise
of fresh produce.
of mangoes and dates
that I cannot afford.

would you submit.
yourself to the rules,
of immigration that seems
shameless. Complex
and simply obtuse.

and would you stay
if given the above,
the man that you’d meet
was that self-same flawed child

the one that you’d left



talking with strangers

a decade spent, oriental sea
with languages sound like spun sugar
sweet and ephemeral.

returning at last.

this confounded hack,
conversations with strangers,
trying to explain

that there is a reason
why I’m so terribly behind

many things
haven’t turned out
similar to my peers

in an explanation,
my absent, un-mortgaged house.
no more a career,

family for which the foundations
were never built.

please listen.
to the stories
I can tell

because they convince me
right now, that it all might be
worth Something



beach fragments

I can see the ocean
from my window

shores that are bloodless,
stripped clean

I want the body
of a whale washed ashore

I might as well live
on the beach

and the climate is temperate
and dull

people on islands are supposed
to eat mangoes, develop new skills

I eat salad for one
and wait by the ocean

promise when you fly over
you’ll drop a paper cup

we can talk while you’re delayed
through immigration

I will be the savage, dressed
in ordinary clothes.


I left a note on the fridge for you

if there was a heart
to this moment
I would want to cut it out
and perhaps feed you some
but not have any myself
because I’m a vegan now
snd feel righteously better
since making that decision



dog poem

you accuse me
of killing the dog

but the sounds last night
you heard where
just fireworks

I murdered the dog
long ago.

Author: jameskramerblog

James Kramer is a fiction writer currently based in Beijing. His writing has appeared in Your Impossible Voice, as well as various Poetry anthologies. He currently writes a monthly-ish column for LeftLion magazine on China.

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