Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trees, Trains, & Angels

Photo by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer, Davis

the dream…I move from
room to room
in the house of my youth
searching for my mother
calling, mom, mom,
but no answer
coming to a place
where I could see through
a tilted basement window
where my father
and the trees that surround him
used to be, but all are gone,
whitewashed away
the way basements were
and all of a sudden I knew
that she had fled with him.


Thanks, Ann Privateer, for the poem and pic, and thanks to today's other contributors! We're talking noir, here, for our Strangers on a Train SOW. Send your poetic or photographic or artistic speculations about strangers on a train to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.

A good time was had by most at the Rattle-Read last night at The Book Collector, with fine poetry by Carl Schwartz and Martha Ann Blackman. Their new publications may be had at TBC, along with the latest WTF (#9—and yes, I dropped off some more copies at TBC last night). Speaking of WTF, Editor Frank Andrick graces the front page of the new Poetry Now (along with rattlechapper Susan Kelly-DeWitt), and copies are also available at TBC—or click on the happy guy with his computer on Medusa's b-board over at the right.

The group was rowdier than usual last night; must've been the pomegranate juice.

My bad: Michelle Kunert let me know that her photo of the dancers I posted yesterday were Chinese, not Ukrainian. Oopsie.....

Tonight! Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe presents James Lee Jobe and Sam Skow. That's at 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8pm. Reared in Sacramento, Sam Skow began performing spoken word poetry in and around Los Angeles upon moving there in 2000. Honing his particular writing and performance style in the Slam scene, he made the 2003 LA Slam Team which won the National Poetry Slam Championship that year. He has released three chapbooks (Blame the Hat, Fighting Cancer with Coughdrops, and Handjobs to Hyperbole) and one CD (The Deadliness of Mistletoes) under his own name and two different aliases: Buddha Hat and Barnabus Briefchatter. Sam has since returned to Sacramento to pursue his college education, but he is still known to rhyme to himself at bus stops, train stations, and during smoke breaks.

This will be the premiere of James Lee Jobe's sixth chapbook, Very Late At Night, from Geoffrey Neill's little m press, one of our "sister" publishing houses in Sacramento. Rattlechapper James Lee has been a respected poet, publisher, and reader in our area for a long time. You can read more about him at; meanwhile, here are some of his poems. His mention of trees is appropriate for California's Arbor Day, which is actually a week: March 7-14. (See National Arbor Day isn't until April 29: But I digress... Here are three James Lee Jobe poems:

—James Lee Jobe, Davis

A nocturnal forest grows on the roof
of the city, a bedroom for the great mother,
visible only to lovers, long after midnight.
Her valley oaks, pine, and cedar grow so thick
that I must push through many branches
to see the waning moon set far across the rooftops,
and the leaves feel cool against my bare back.
My eyes more often look inward, worrying,
Calculating. But when midnight is gone
and the dawn is coming without sleep again
I can climb up for the moonlight, and for you.
How wonderful you are, naked in moonlight!
Your breasts cast night shadows on the rooftops.
The warm scent of your body tickles the city,
and the people smile through their dreams.
How marvelous life is! Aren't we a pair?
Making love atop an urban forest of two
while below us all of Sacramento sleeps?


—James Lee Jobe

You open your door
And the wide world calls out to you.
Trees have a dance
That they perform with the wind.
The wind sings a little tune to the leaves.
Dogs have a lot to say.
It goes like that.
Hearing this, you move through the verses
Of the wide world. Being alive
Is like reading a novel, and you say that
Out loud. You turn each page
Hoping that something good
Will happen.


—James Lee Jobe

The light doesn't pay any attention to you.
Not even a little. The choice of what to be
was always yours, and still is. Even now.
The end, the beginning; those are concepts
hardly worth attention! The difference
is between having and being.
It is your choice. On this side,
our side, you don't have peace;
you are peace. You don't move
into the light; you are the light
Or you're not, and remain dark.
Alone. Where you are,
you can see the light, and be warm,
but you're not a part of it.
You'll struggle and suffer,
but you get children, and that's worthy
of a struggle, you get a lover to hold,
you get a direction to move in, to grow,
and a name that is just for you.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

For once
The train
Pulled up
Sort of on time

Those of us
Who still
Sort of applauded.



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento