James Nicola



There are victims.

Yes, victimhood abounds

as bugs in swamps in summers:

Spiteful, fruitless stings and busy sounds.


The stingers mate with stung, whom you have known,

that swarm like hives, made slaves by rote, by choice,

remaining low. How many have you told

Get On With It? have any heard your voice?


A Circle beckons outward, forward, upward.

It ever widens, lifts, would have us whole—

a healthy human wholly like a god—

or, striving toward that integrated goal,

robust as we can manage, growing tall,

expanding over bogs in spite of all.


James B. Nicola’s poems have appeared in such publications as the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews. His collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017) and Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018). He has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, four Pushcart Prize nominations, and a People’s Choice award from Storyteller magazine. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice magazine award