goddesses child

shucked corn
dries out by the cages

to the dogs who will only
back away from my father’s

the buckled red gate
a five pointed star
bowed to the ground

inside nothing
but dead peach trees,
a barn, a howling mouth

from the north side
of the mountain
my mother guides my hand

this is what we
used to own
she says, before
we leave
to sweep out
the temple floor




Never stood in gardens
nor walked stone bridges,

we rode the subway
but always apart.

a decorated apartment,
kept animals we
didn’t want.

ate separate at
the same table
when we fought.

Back of a taxi
on route to a hospital
Thought that you
were dying

I believe now you knew
who was already gone




I have been a stranger
to this place for so long
each grain, seems lonesome.

thought that men
through traveling grew,
living abroad I shrank.
tore great sections
of myself away.

walking once more
along the beach, as I
can breathe again.

I’ve laid roots
in another time zone,
a continent alien
to my own.

a home
in a land that’s poison.
when will it demand across the ocean,
I must return again




outdoors before
it’s seven in Melbourne.
I am masked
like a trooper, spray paint
scent in the air.

dazzle rain of
multifarious hues
across an easterly wall.
a community swimming pool.

I paint as children
walk on, held by
their mothers
eyes caught
copperheads curl under
kookaburra wings.

I remove
reveal a crystalline sky
turn solid mass
to firmament.

it is not I,
have never been,
nor would know
where to find
community pool.

I have only seen
a photograph, that a
third party mailed me.

you are not in it,
I know the artist to be you.
you are my brother,
my younger soul.

it has been
so long since
we’ve been together.

I wonder how it is
apart we’ve grown so old.




on a Hong Kong
island, I met
Jackie Chan
he insisted that
I call him Sing Long.

I found him hiding
in amongst a clump
of mangrove trees

he looked afraid,
asked I tell no one
he was there.

his son had been
arrested because
of drugs. he was waiting for all
the protests to
blow over,

I promised I would keep
his secret.
instead of posting
on social media
I had found Jackie Chan
in amongst the mangroves.

I bought a fifth
of Indian whisky
and drank with
Sing Long.

until Jackie got
too drunk,
and broke my arm.


buys birds
the street
sold in wooden cages.

my father does,
every time he’s away.

birds are born sickly
my mother tells him.

he buys them
all the same.

Use those little
wooden cages
to store pencils
once the birds have died.

I wish
my father would stop buying them.
burying them makes me sad.

but at least the sound
of birdsong tells me,
that he’s home.



Featured artist: Richelly Olivira

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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