Jim Daniels

Many drugs that are sold in powder form are often sold in “flaps,” small square pieces of shiny paper (such as magazine paper or lottery paper) folded into an envelope.

Cut and folded into triangles,
origami bee-sting buzz.

Playboy, often. Skin frag-
ment, cartoon pink.

Tiny slick sheets to be tucked
in. Careful funnel of anti-sandman.

Straight snort and sniffle.
Furtive clock scat.

Triangle in the pocket.
Predetermined pre-imagined

bliss. Easy to hide. To lose.
Worry about losing—

tap the pocket once more.
And again. Small enough

to resist sharing. Glossy
flesh, but not flesh.

When it’s gone, somebody
licks the paper.

Jim Daniels’ next books of poems, Rowing Inland, Wayne State University Press, and Street Calligraphy, Steel Toe Books, will both be published in 2017. His fifth book of short fiction, Eight Mile High, published by Michigan State University Press in 2014, was selected as a Michigan Notable Book and as a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize. “The End of Blessings,” the fourth short film he has written and produced, appeared in sixteen film festivals around the world. His poems have been featured on “Prairie Home Companion,” Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac," in Billy Collins' Poetry 180 anthologies, and Ted Kooser's "American Life in Poetry" series. A native of Detroit, Daniels is a graduate of Alma College and Bowling Green State University. He is the Thomas Stockham University Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.

"What motivates me to write? It’s been a given in my life for so long that it’s hard to articulate exactly why. I started writing a long time ago as an alternative to speaking when I had a speech defect that made me self-conscious. Part of the motivation came from realizing that the people I knew and loved weren’t showing up in much of the literature I was reading—the world of factory work and working-class life that I grew up with in Detroit was nearly invisible, particularly in poetry. I’ve been teaching for a long time now, and am part of numerous other worlds, but that initial world is still at the core of much of what I write. And, I write for the same reason a lot of people write, which is to try to figure out my own life and the world around me, and to connect to that larger world from the isolation of writing however and wherever I can."