“The Gold Dream” by David James

David James


When I cough, a gold nugget plops out of my mouth, the size of an acorn, but perfectly rectangular. I dip each one in vinegar to test its chemical properties. In the living room, there are now 719 gold nuggets stacked in the corner. For breakfast, we throw a handful of them in with our Cheerios and, of course, chew for hours.

“Good for your complexion,” I say.

“But damn hard on the teeth,” you reply.

And then we’re shitting out the gold nuggets, peppered like corn in our stool. We’re brushing our teeth with gold, cutting our toenails with gold, sewing our buttons with gold, putting gold in our eyes as contact lenses, cleaning our ears with gold, slicing up gold wedges for our omelets and fried zucchini dishes. Before long, I am gold and you eat me—and you are gold, so I eat you and then we’re both traveling up an esophagus, wet and slimy gold nuggets trembling in someone’s open palm.

from Rattle e.5, Fall 2008 (pdf)


David James: “I’ve noticed the older I get, the more desperate my poems become. The urge to write is stronger, but somehow harder to accomplish with increased responsibilities, duties, ailments, commitments. I want a poem to extend my day, my world. I want a poem to save my children and bless my grandchildren. I want a poem to carry my pleas up to heaven and find some open ears. As age hits me in the face and gut, I want poetry to shake my heart into something younger and healthier. I want poetry to give me a brand new life. Of course, I know it can’t, and there’s the fucking rub.” (web)

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