Thick With Conviction - A Poetry Journal
thick with conviction a poetry journal

James H. Duncan

Room 278

water hitting tile as the bathroom door
closes on its own, the moon filtering down
into the hotel courtyard, through the curtains
to the glimmering skin of the water on
the floor, 1 a.m. , 2 a.m. , 3 a.m. , jetlag
like a drug that keeps the veins thunderous
even as I sit at the bottom of the shower stall
exhausted, soaking in my skin, unable to
swallow or persuade my heart to stop
beating for a few hours of peace, maybe
even some sleep, but the shower keeps
pouring down, like that moon, meeting
and reflecting off the tile, like watching
two beautiful dancers in an empty
ballroom, no music at all, just the silent
movement unbroken Ďtill dawn, which
comes as always, with two left feet

The young of stray dogs

I would have named her Violet
the child you never told me
we were having, and never had,
and maybe it is for the best, seeing
as though I never did enjoy the mountains
enough to stay, or the ocean enough
to stay, or Vermont enough to stay,
or the Mexican desert wilderness
enough to stay for even a season

no child deserves a bum for a father,
and you didnít mean to sound
materialistic about it, but yes, you do
deserve more than this old road hound
could ever offer, and hell, look, I
canít even afford to get off this
barstool and make it to the bus station
for the afternoon route back to East Hollywood ,
so I guess Iíll always be here waiting
and wondering how Violetís eyes might
have taken me in, how she would
have said my name, the name of her
dusty old dad, perhaps never long lost for long,
always at her fingertips after a short stint
away, but never around enough to let the feeling
the name, the scent, the sensation
sink in and hit home that a father is a father
forever, and some hounds are too good
for the eternal doghouse theyíll find themselves
chained to whether they deserve it or not

James H Duncan is the founding editor of Hobo Camp Review, and is an editor for Writer's Digest. A Pushcart Prize and 'Best of the Net' nominee, James is the author of six books of poetry, and he recently released his debut collection of short stories, The Cards We Keep. For more, visit


Current Issue:
August 2013


AJ Davis
James H. Duncan
Anthony Liccione
Christina Rau
Ron Riekki
Jason Sturner
Patricia Wellingham-Jones