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Candice James

After serving two 3 year terms as Poet Laureate (2010-2016) Candice James has been awarded the title of Poet Laureate Emerita of New Westminster, BC Canada, by order of City Council. She is also a visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter, book reviewer and workshop facilitator. She is Founder, Board Advisor and Past President of Royal City Literary Arts Society; Director of Pacific Festival of the Book Society; Past President of the Federation of British Columbia Writers; Past Director of Slam Central and Past Director of SpoCan. She is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets and The Writers Union of Canada. She also is founder of: “The Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence In Poetry”; “Poetry In The Park”; “Poetic Justice” “Poetry New Westminster”; and she has been keynote speaker at “Word On The Street”, “Word on the Beach”; and “Black Dot Roots Cultural Collective.” She is the author of twelve books of poetry.

Black Onyx Lake

Above the lip of a black onyx lake,
I walked as a ghost in a foreign land,
All around me in a state of flux:
Mountains dissolving;
Sand dunes shifting;
Sky cracking open;
Stars in free-fall
Above the lip of a black onyx lake.

I saw stars being born,
Burning out, disappearing;
Angels in flight touching down on the lake.
I saw high-wires, guidelines and cities
Constructed with neon and gauze;
Rainbows changing their colours at will.

In a moment of madness
The sun kissed the moon;
And imagination’s children were born,
Raining down sweet inspiriation
Spilling from a crack in the sky
Onto poets, musicians and artists
In reverent and sacred free-fall.

My eyes overflowing
With moon, stars, and sky
And wrapped in the breath of angels,
I stood as a ghost
Turned inside out
Bearing witness to
Both sides of the dark
Below a slow moving heaven
Beneath a surreal sky,
Above the lip of a black onyx lake.

The Drowning

It’s raining all over the world tonight.
I hear voices, indistinct whispers
As I lay at the edge of slumber.
The wind gusts softly in musical timbres.
A pale ghost with fingers of glass
Deftly strums a satin guitar with a tattered velvet pick.
An age old wisdom shines from the clouds in his eyes.
The night is aglow with timeless stars
Twinkling, sparkling, shimmering,
Oblivious to the approaching deluge.

The voices and indistinct whispers
Grow louder, become clearer
Emulating laughter and cries;
Echoing muted murmurs and moans
That ebb and flow through a hollowed out sky.

Angels, Saints and the Holy Ones
Weave their way through the flickering starlight
Ascending to a realm just beyond the drowning.
It’s raining all over the world
And the clinging, egregious damp
Foretells of the drowning… edging ever closer.

The rain has become second nature to me now.

I hear voices and whispers
And watch faces that float in street puddle mirrors:
For a long time; for a short time;
For almost no time at all.

Soon the rain will sink them into the drowning.
It’s raining all over the world
And I wonder….
Who’ll stop the rain?

Ink Stain in the Rain

The cruel wind scrapes and rapes
The soft, supple, satin drapes
In the cave of evening shade.
Under gun metal sky,
Cracked, splintered and dry,
We play our tragic masquerade.

On the mantle of doom
And foreboding gloom
We reach for this feeling we’re chasing.
We can’t quite grasp enough of it,
Just a quicksilver touch of it,
This dream Daughter Time is erasing.

Then, I feel your heart slip,
So I tighten my grip
On the trembling lip of this storm.
Your body’s a river,
A fast running shiver
And I can’t seem to keep myself warm.
Engulfed by the ocean
And fading emotion,
You let go of my hand.
Tide sweeps you away
But bids my heart stay.
Nothing is as we planned.
Waves wash me ashore,
Lips parched evermore
Never to taste yours again.
Love letters and pain,
Left out in the rain, Became a fading ink stain.

Now, days without sun.
The moon’s come undone
And I... I’ve become the rain.


From Water Poems
by Candice James
© 2017 Ajmer Rode
Published by Ekstasis Editions