James DenBoer


James DenBoer can be reached at jamesdb@paperwrk.com  or www.paperwork.com.  His publishing credits include the following:

Learning The Way, University of Pittsburgh

         Press, 1969.
Trying to Come Apart, University of Pittsburgh  
         Press, 1971.
Nine Poems, Christopher’s Books, Santa Barbara, 1972.
Lost in Blue Canyon, Christopher’s Books, Santa Barbara, 1981.
Dreaming of the Chinese Army, Blue Thunder Press, Grand Rapids, MI, 1999.
Back Until Then, Verdant Press, Berkeley, CA, 2005.
Black Dog: An Unfinished Segue Between Two Seasons, Rattlesnake Press, Fair Oaks,
          CA, 2005.
Stonework: Selected Poems, Swan Scythe Press, Davis, CA, 2007.

Rock & Sea, White Rabbit Press, San Francisco, CA, 1968 (Broadside).
We Might Change, Offield & Brower, Los Gatos, CA, 1986 (Broadside).
Poems: James DenBoer, Verdant Press, Pasadena, CA, 2002.
Poems: James DenBoer/Painting: Mel Smothers, The Press of the Black Dog,
            Sacramento, CA, 2002 (l copy of handmade book with original paintings).
Poems: James DenBoer, Magpie Press Books, Sacramento, CA, 2002.
We Might Change, Jason Davis/Verdant Press, Berkeley, CA, 2002.
Black Dog, Tom Weidman/Magpie Press, Sacramento, CA, 2002 (Broadside).
Four Directions, Verdant Press, Berkeley, 2003 (Poetry cards with handmade
The Knife, Occasional Works, Woodside, CA, 2003 (Broadside).

Olson/DenBoer: A Letter, Christopher’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA, 1979.
Toward Wellness: Conversations about Health in Our Society, rapporteur/editor;

          National Center for Health Education, San Francisco, 1984.
Planning for Health Education in Our Communities, editor; National Center for Health

          Education, San Francisco, 1985.
A Bibliography of the Published Work of Douglas Blazek, Glass Eye Books, Florence,

          MA, 2003.

Brandi & Brandts & DenBoer & Durand & Peters & Turner, Melissa Mytinger, editor,
          Christopher’s Books, Santa Barbara, 1973.
Messages: A Thematic Anthology of Poetry, X. J. Kennedy, editor, Little Brown & Co.,

          Boston, MA, 1973.
Traveling America with Today’s Poets, David Kherdian, editor, Macmillan,

          New York, 1977.
Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life, Peter Oresick & Nicholas Coles, editors,

          University of Illinois Press, Urbana & Chicago, 1990.
The Sacramento Anthology: One Hundred Poems, edited by Dennis Schmitz & Viola
          Weinberg, The Sacramento Poet Laureate Program, 2001.
We Beg to Differ: An Anthology for Peace, edited by Luke Breit & Traci L. Gourdine,

          Sacramento Poets Against the War, 2003.

James DenBoer poems from Black Dog


Nothing goes on in his head.
it all goes on in his glands,
his muscles, his nose. He chases every squirrel
every time he sees one,
barks and lunges at every cat;
he’d eat every bit of garbage
on the road if I didn’t snap his lead hard.
He doesn’t care in a way I can’t.
He doesn’t confuse past with present;
his only language is what’s now
and under his black pads.
He’s the perfect one, in fact,
to talk with, in the rain and wind
of January, when winter needs talking to
and writing down to bone-cold.
As with the many names of God,
I repeat his name often—he doesn’t know
my name, he doesn’t know this
is winter, he doesn’t know
he could kill me with those teeth.
He listens to my chatter, my hum,
my chikk-chikk like a squirrel;
my noises keep him interested
and unworried. He scribbles
along the scent to air, his nails click
on wet black stones, he pulls his way
toward red lights on Fair Oaks Avenue,
he leads me back to start.


Herons flock to a line of eucalyptus
west along road to the levee

at sunset they come back from wherever
they’ve been all day       eating rice
along the causeway       frogs in the rice

land as clumsily as trees
shed       raggedy bark and nuts underfoot
twist your ankle       the pivot
of your thoughts as you want or not

Who can think when all the world
conspires to be as good as it can be
& is       irrelevant       when one heron
slows its drop with flap back
of two wide wings       simply accepts
its long-toed feet landing right

takes off immediately


James DenBoer poems from Day Moon

January 2007

        Rising Moon

Great yellow moon in a scrim of mist
heavy on the crossbar of a power pole
straining against threads of black wire.
Her dogs lead me, leashed
to the urgency of their emptying
of bladder and bowels,
a need despite anything, anything
and everything. Love is an instrument
of catastrophe, no consolation now.
Forty degrees, cold and getting colder.
We are wondering: Where is she?
Now she is a moon in mist, a moon
going smaller as she rises,
gilt by sun fallen behind the sea.

        Orange Moon

The moon is as round as an orange.
The orange is in a blue bowl
on an oak table. The table is a mass
of energy, a whirl of atoms,
moving so fast that a knock of knuckles
won’t make them bleed.
The table is on a Mexican rug
woven of threads that reach out
to the fingers of women and children
knotting atoms into a village scene.
The moon is as orange as an orange
but it is much farther away.

        Day Moon

No more moons, please, no more
night talk, already too many Night Thoughts
& Nocturnes & Nightwoods & Nightflights
& Nightlights & Nightmares;

annoying fictions of darkness, us awake
late in our beds, laden with psychic errands & chores,
false memories;
                           enough! –
Here: now: day thoughts;
common & ordinary word/things enter in plain view,
arise in daylight; on the day shift.
We’ve heard too much in 20th century
about dreams & free-floating
unconsciousness, untrammeled by reason,
surreal & irreal, about metaphysical
grammars, vague philosophies of night.






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