Poetry from J.K. Durick

At Sea

Literally, not figuratively this time, like my always

Trying to keep my head above water, then treading it

As best I can, while I watch for sharks and shoals,


but not this time, I’m literally in it, on it, as far as I can

see is sea, ripples, waves to the horizon, a dark slate,

always coming from somewhere, always going away,


repetitious, it rocks us, hums to us, to itself always,

a chop, a roll, a swell, we stretch language to catch it,

it traps our step as we walk the deck, like drunks full


of time we search the horizon, it seems familiar and

unfamiliar, a friendly stranger, a strange friend, a place

we have never been, a place we will always be, this is


it, the loneliness we share, a precise measure of our days.

   After the Season

The lines at the gallery

and Cathedral

have dwindled down

to nothing,

and the town square

is almost empty,

the locals are no longer

being asked directions

by people holding maps,

nor being asked

if they speak English,

and the tour guides

have all gone back to school

or back to their quiet lives,

back walking slowly

and never raising their voices

to explain the history of

this or that building

or this bridge or that statue,

the souvenir shops

have slowed, almost stopped

— the place,

no longer a destination,

finally becomes itself



United Line – Amsterdam Airport

In lines like this we begin to feel our place

in the greater scheme of things – exiles from

any use, refugees chasing time and place;

we carry on what we can, try to check the rest.


Then people, who never identify themselves,

go down the line, full of an authority we never

question, they check passports, asked questions

about where and when we’ve been, we are going;

some are pulled aside, selected out, questioned at

length, off somewhere – we never question it –

it’s not our time, so we quietly wait, become part

of this line we find ourselves in, faces, feet

shuffling forward, Kafkaesque at its best.


In this line, the temporary feels permanent –

places we’ve been, seem far away, the places

we’re going seem distant; this transition between

dims them, blurs our memories enough that when

we arrive at the counter, we almost can’t recall

where we are going or why we were in line.