Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blue Silk

James Lee Jobe with Mary Zeppa
at The Book Collector

—James Lee Jobe, Davis

The grandfather clock packed its bags
and caught a train back east,
hoping for new opportunities
while there was still time.
The curtains blew away on the wind,
flapping madly as if waving goodbye,
then shooting out into the sky
like a thing frightened.
The dog left, just giving up and walking away,
and the cat took up with the neighbors,
saying sullen things
and lurking under bushes.
The apples ran away with the wine,
somplace more romantic, I suppose;
I hadn't been aware of the relationship.
With each loss I felt a bit freer, and lighter.
Night was coming on, and looking
pretty good. What now?—I asked the heavens.
There was no answer, of course,
but the sky was lovely,
and the setting sun was so warm.


Thanks, James Lee Jobe, for today's poems, and thanks to Robin Gale Odam for Today's LittleNip. About himself, James Lee says he is a longtime Northern California poet. His fourth chapbook is a Rattlechap, What God Said When She Finally Answered Me, from Rattlesnake Press. His fifth chapbook is being published by Little M Press. Jim is too modest; he's been a NorCal Force in poetry, both as a publisher (One Dog Press) and as a writer, for many years. Hear him read this coming Wednesday night at Red Night Poetry—see our b-board for details!


—James Lee Jobe

I will die one day
Right here in this valley.
Don't be sad.
The sky will slide open
Like a bathroom mirror
And kind angels
Will guide me home
Through golden light.
To you it may seem
Like just another beautiful
Valley sunset.
And you'll be right.


—James Lee Jobe

I pledge allegiance to no flag,
no country, but to the earth.
The Great Mother
is my country.
One world, one people
with many faces and beliefs,
here to help each other,
to love each other,
and to grow.
I bind my faith to no rules,
just to my own heart,
my own truth,
and I set nothing in stone
except this;
we are all equal souls
in this world, my sister,
my brother. And kindness!
I pledge allegiance to that.


—James Lee Jobe

Midnight. A waning moon.
Cats by the hundreds,
by the thousands,
begin to gather
in the tumbledown streets
and parks.
As if commanded
through telepathy
the cats form into ranks,
into companies,
and move out
in an orderly manner.
Many more cat brigades
from the suburbs
join them,
and their numbers swell
into an army,
marching through the night.
Just before dawn,
they take up their positions
around city hall
and the police stations.
Today they will put right
many wrongs.
A balance will be reclaimed.
Any moment now,
the sun will rise,
and with it
will come the signal
to attack.


—James Lee Jobe

Your skirt
down to the floor,
and the first monkey
is released,
and runs screaming
into the trees.
Black lace panties,
garter belt, and hose;
another monkey is free
and running.
Slipping off
your top reveals
the mountains
where Vishnu sleeps,
also covered
in sheer black lace.
Dozens of monkeys
are now
on the move,
and playing.
You pull me
next to you
and the jungle
comes alive!
On the backs
of the wild
we are carried
into the trees.


—James Lee Jobe

It isn't easy to explain The Black Dog.
(In a crib, just out of sight, a boy wakes up.)

This isn't a dog who wins awards or has a pedigree.
(He is very alert, and uses the rail to pull himself up.)

This isn't a dog that will ever wear a leash.
(Something calls to the boy, a desire perhaps.)

The Black Dog smells wild.
(Laughing, he pulls himself up and over the rail.)

The Black Dog pisses when he wants.
(Dropping down, the boy crawls fast across the floor.)

He eats garbage and he bites.
(At the doorway, the boy stands on his legs like a man.)

The Black Dog owns the world.
(He is taller now, with a trace of a beard, determined.)

You may not touch The Black Dog.
(He strides through the door, his muscles flexing.)

Unloved and free, The Black Dog commands respect.
(Fully a man now, he turns the corner and walks away.)

His life is his own, not yours, and your rules mean nothing, nothing.
(His life is his own, not yours, and your rules mean nothing, nothing.)


Today's LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento

Found him out there alone,
tangled in his thoughts.

I’ll take him a lifeline—

Corona, silence,
wisp of blue silk.



Our Seed of the Week is Blue Silk. What does that conjur up for you? The night sky, like in Robin's photo, or a smooth, unruffled ocean? The flag of some developing nation? A negligee, or a handkerchief, or a shade of fingernail polish—or some rich guy's pajamas? Write about blue silk and send it to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs. 

—Photo by Robin Gale Odam