Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

For a long time I was hesitant to post poetry on this blog as I wanted to focus on writing about movies and comic books etc. However, I decided last April to blog some poems and some videos of me reading  for National Poetry Month. I noticed as soon as I made those posts I had a small audience and gained followers after just about every post I made.

So I decided to post this as well. The poems I’d previously blogged are from my collection Almost Normal, published in 2012. The topics of the poems include traveling to Asia, living on an Indian Reservation, and some poems touch on my other interests of comic books etc.

I like to think that the book kind of has an arc to it, that it portrays a young boy who liked baseball and boxing who later went down the path of eccentric-ness, then traveled the world a bit before becoming, well, Almost Normal.

You can purchase the book here.


Did I ever tell you about Rez Baseball?

There are so few people out here

that you cannot have two teams,

but the Indians can adapt to anything it seems.


You only have a few people at bat,

the field is where the rest of us are at,

and if a pop fly lands softly in your glove

then you get a swing at the game you love.


If one is tagged out you’ll see field rotation,

players from the field go to the bases,

the catcher goes to the bullpen station

and players recycle through the diamond animation.


Baseball in its purest form brings out the best in us.

Today there was no fighting,

no anger,

and no egos.

Just fun in the warm April sun.


Timeless music filled the air,

speaking of love, life, and things that are fair,

not death, killing, anger, and despair.

Cusses their tongues did not speak,

hatred their hearts did not keep.


I got to play Baseball tonight.


I hadn’t played Baseball in so long

that it didn’t matter if it was Rez Baseball,

it was Baseball.




My first time up I hit a single.

The Babe behind me hit a pop fly

and I knew at first I should have stayed

but my anxiousness overcame me

and soon my legs had swayed

swiftly to second,

and soon I was out.



my new position.

Playing in the open sky,

dreaming in the field,

missing the occasional pop fly.


But I got a few out,

and soon was rotated back in.

Two more singles

then batted in, RBI.

Scored twice in a game no one would win

but we all tried.


Before the Easter sun had set

behind the distant trees,

the gloves were handed in,

the players left,

and the game was history.


I know lady luck was on my side

and I knew it then.

So I went home and thanked my God

that I got to play baseball again.


From my collection Almost Normal

At a house party in the Coal Region

hours away from the anniversary

of the dreaded Y2K

I turn to my friend and say

“You know it never really felt like the year 2000.”


I remember when it was the year 1987.

I was in the fourth grade

and could feel the future coming up fast.

I imagined rocket ships and moon colonies.

Cities with that old school sci-fi look.

Clean crisp streets, clear skies.

No garbage or filth before your eyes.


“It doesn’t feel like the future.”

I told my friend.

“We still have dirt, grime, and crud.”


In this room full of ashes he chuckles

“We still have dirt.”

laughing through the thick cigarette smoke.


The future is here, and we still have dirt.

We still have garbage.

We still use gas powered cars,

and my toilet still clogs.

My computer is too slow,

and the secrets of the universe

we still do not know.


In 2001 I had this conversation with another pal,

and he concluded to all of this,

“Where the hell’s HAL.”

From my poetry collection Almost Normal.

Hard Coal Studios

In college there was this coffee shop that had open mics and poetry readings and it’s where I started reading poems. I found the first poem I ever read there and read it again in 2012.

Reading my poem Buffalo 66 in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania

Buffallo 66

The roof is leaking in the $2 theater
dripping near my popcorn as the screen flickers.
I’m as excited at a 12 year old seeing Star Wars.

I’m nearly alone in my cinematic enlightenment.
It’s useless to say not another university student in sight.
Romantic notions of what college was to be faded to black,
and I am content to watch my first independent film.


With so few roads on the reservation

it’s hard to turn the wrong way.

But when the roads are long and it’s your first time

you wonder anyway.


For the next two years

whenever I’d drive by that green sign

I’d always chuckle to myself

and remember that time.


I missed the left turn.

I saw the sign but just my luck,

spray painted over it was “D.G.A.F.”

“Don’t Give A” you know what.

Reading at Jackson’s Java in Charlotte North Carolina. Charlotte’s longest running poetry event.

Punk Rock Japan Girl

You saw me in Shinjuku just wandering down the street.
Just off the jet to Japan by the grace of God we meet.
Next thing I knew you invited me to the show.
Couldn’t sing along except WHOOOAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Punk Rock Japan Girl invites me to the show.
Raise your fists fly through the air and go GO GO!!!

If we would have met when I was 18
I would have been so smitten with you.
I would have written you poetry and all that kind of stuff.
Maybe we would have met at the open stage
where I’d listen to your songs of hard edge and rage
and you’d hear my poems so soft and full of fluff.
You’d catch my eye in this small white town
and I’d wonder what you’d think.
Would I catch your eye at this party school
where like you I didn’t drink?
Desperately trying to impress you
I’d don whatever black I could find.
Hoping for your approval in pumped up manhood I’d unwind.

Punk Rock Japan Girl you’d have been the love of my life
and in punk rock reality you’d be my punk rock wife!
Across the dirty broken streets in jagged bliss we’d ride!
In one arm a stack of ripped up poems
in the other my punk rock bride!

And nothing would have stirred up more shit
than bringing you home for the holidays.
It would’ve been even better than bringing home a black girl,
because not only would it have been a gook,
it would have been a foreigner!
Not only would it have been a foreigner,
it would have been someone who speaks another language!
A 1000 cracker eyes peering out from behind the curtains
occasionally pulling back like closed eyelids
but still looking, wondering.
WHAT is this THING MURRAY brought home!
And only my mother would have been happy for me.

Punk Rock Japan Girl small mindedness we’d pound!
From the campus to the coal town
we’d spread rock all around!
Punk anthems and spiked romance we’d sing of every day.
Our last target would be those bigots we’d blow em all away!

Then that day would have risen
where you had to head back to Honshu
and I’d shed the Pacific in tears.
In mourning I’d wear black leather for a year
and every time I heard the Ramones I’d cry
because it would make me think of you.

Oh well, it would have been cool anyway.

Punk Rock Japan Girl I met you 10 years too late!
Didn’t know a dam word you sung
but I knew it sounded great!
Never knew I’d see such a sight when I came to Shinjuku!
Whenever I think of Tokyo I’ll always think of you!

Reading at the open mic at Woodstock in Seoul South Korea.

The Geekiest Moment of My Life.

It wasn’t even Dungeons and Dragons
that the average person might have heard of.
It wasn’t even World of Darkness,
Rifts, Gurps, Deadlands, or Call of Cthulhu,
that at least nerds knew.

The Role Playing Guild gathered in the dorms that evening
to play a homemade game
designed by one of our own members.
If only I could recall its name.

According to our character sheets
we are all aliens investigating an extra-terrestrial mystery.
We have strange names, equipment,
character traits and history.

We may have weaknesses
but can also achieve superhuman feats.
My roommate is a claustrophobic archeologist
who is allergic to dust.
We investigate the starship,
searching for clues, watching who we trust.

A student pokes his head in the window
wondering what on earth we’re doing.
The dice are out, the pencils are sharp.
We roll for initiative, and perception.
The game is on, and the TV is off.

I bet I was the only one who even knew.
It was Super Bowl Sunday.

James Murray reading the poem Almost Normal from his poetry collection of the same name. Poem below.

Almost Normal

Who knows when it ended,
but I know when it began. That summer my Aunt visited out of the blue with a pack of baseball cards and next thing I knew a whole world of diamonds opened before me.

My first and only team was the Phillies and the only sports hero of my childhood
was Mike Schmidt.
I watched his 500th home run against Pittsburgh, but at some point the ball dropped, as if on a whim, and one day I’d forgotten all about him.

I do remember dad giving his only fatherly advice, never bet on Philadelphia sports. After the Phillies one the game
and dad lost the gamble I’d sit in my room with my plastic Phillies helmet, and in the years before
I dreamt of science fiction sagas
I had fantasies of winning the big game.

In 1986, comic books greatest year, I knew nothing of Watchmen or Alan Moore. While nerds in newsgroups were trying to figure out who killed the Comedian I was finally figuring out how to ride a bike. While fanboys geeked out over
the Dark Knight Returns I was fishing on the lake,
shooting archery, eating smores.

Who knows why it ended, let alone when? All I know is when Tyson was in his heydey, and He-man was the Master of the Universe, I was climbing the hill, I read comics only sometimes, and I didn’t like girls yet.

I was almost normal.

The Almost Normal poetry collection can be purchased here.