James D. Ardis is a poet currently attending the University of Arkansas for Creative Writing. At nineteen years old, he’s already been published over 30 times by journals such as Word Riot, Teen Ink and Subtle Tea. Until the journal’s demise in April of 2008, James D. Ardis had a column in Zine 5 magazine entitled Idle Lines for the Misinformed. He’s currently wrapping up work on his first book of poetry: Letters on Sunspots. James is also helping to establish the first ever literary journal in the history of the University of Arkansas. As an active Buddhist, James’s work includes many references to Buddhist philosophy. Popular culture and the motif of self discovery also pop up constantly in his work.
What is matter? Does it dance?
I challenge every teacher to come up with one question
for every test that goes beyond
notes taken during a lecture…
bolded terms on the sides of textbooks…
a question that goes beyond…
What is Matter? Does it Dance?
Do swing sets miss you when you get older?
English Major Woman
Her feet cry out to me for salvation
from the shoes that demand five toes
to converge in a single point.
The proverbial “toe-cleavage” throbbing red
As she mangles her textbooks with bookmarks and ear tags.
She plays Sudoku in the newspaper during Medieval Lit.
fingers bound around a pencil with a brand new eraser
for all the mistakes she's bound to make
as a professor in her late eighties
strings together her final thoughts
before the end of class like an epitaph,
spoken in perfect Iambic Pentameter.
Ferris Wheels In Pripyat
Discontented bumper cars wade in melting snow
thin wires cling to the decimated ceiling,
The grovel gathers along electronic pathways
a steering wheel rests beside the passenger's seat.
The classroom seats are firmly planted on the ground
dirt gathering on the floor like pencil shavings,
A light panel collapses between the aisles
like a student slapped for insubordination
A Ferris wheel plagued with rust, arms bent in exhaustion
letting its fingers,the gondolas, dangle low,
wonders to itself if it could even rotate
if it cared to try.
The 4th of July on November 22nd
A 12-year-old Asian child smokes a cigarette
touching the smuggled fireworks like a holy shrine
the stench of 7-11 Taquitos dances around his friend,
his protruding gut and the sweltering hive of acne sprinkled across his face tell the story of many late night Slurpee binges.
The cold November air, the ying
contrasted by the lit match, yang
collide at the core of the firework's fuse,
the first flints spark like magnets
their tango as passionate as a Latino mamba.
Flying in the air reluctantly on its kamikaze mission,
the crackle like popcorn as the rocket releases its cascade of color,
the calm November evening shattered in calamity
by the rocket's pure, impressive light.
An entire town collectively, leave the warm embrace of blankets
and crave a hot dog drizzled in ketchup.
While her friends pay to get their fingernails painted at stores,
she stays at home and sinks her hand into bowls of red paint
hurling it at the canvas, bombarding the tranquil plain
with sheer passion so it won’t take bottles of Tequila
to see those strawberry fields forever like her idols.