Thursday, June 23, 2011

By The Wind's Twelve Quarters

—Photo by Chris Moon, Sacramento

—Tartoum by Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Emerald grass, cool with dew—
I pretend this open field is mine
to share with you between feasts.

I pretend this open field is mine,
an inheritance from my father
from Wales, traveling with their trunks.

An inheritance from my father
of silver coins could not buy
what God has given us.

Silver coins could not buy
this golden new beginning
right here in our new land.

Traveling with our trunks
I share with you between feasts
what God has given us,
right here in our new land.


—James Lee Jobe, Davis

A rumor races down the freeway,
faster than any of the vehicles.

Cars whisper this rumor to trucks,
and so on.

is coming!

The long trucks move to the far right.
The foreign cars all move to far left.

In the middle lanes, moderate Californians
wonder what to do.

Wait for Jesus to pick His own lane?
Exit and genuflect from the frontage road?

Ascend into Heaven body, soul,
and Ford F-150?

Far to the rear, just at the horizon,
a light is growing.

Yes, a beautiful Heavenly light,
growing fast.

Then Jesus tops the rise at 80 miles per hour
in a rag top cherry-red 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

He has a muscled out 454 engine with dual carbs,
Hooker headers, and a Hurst shifter.

A rumble like thunder
shakes the freeway.

Jesus downshifts, gooses it, and starts passing everyone,
switching from lane to lane, smooth, perfect.

The Allman Brothers' Statesboro Blues
blasts out through His windows.

Jesus nods His head
to the Southern beat.


—James Lee Jobe

Red tomatoes grow sweet in the warm,
glowing sun.

The magpie, with a pretty yellow bill, steals
the catfood one piece at a time.

Cool winds wander up through the Delta,
lightening July's concerns.

Tell me, why do we make war
when there is so much to do?

Why do we go on killing
when there is so much to see?

Daylight returns over the heights of the Sierra everyday,
just when we need it.


—James Lee Jobe

Limestone and granite,

and pools of perfectly clear,

cold water.

A sky worthy of Van Gogh.

The sweet singing

of birds; a hummingbird

that drops out of nowhere,

A red-tail hawk

circling low, hunting.

Raccoon droppings.

A sister of a river,

full of fun, full of spirit.

Snow melt trickling

across the clean trail.

A medicine wheel

of pebbles on a flat, gray boulder

by the edge of the noisy river.

Praying alone

at the dog end of winter.


—James Lee Jobe

I have spent some time
with that river.

Walking the trails
of all three branches.

on gigantic granite boulders.

Swimming deep
in the cold pools.

Watching red-tail hawks
and turkey vultures.

Listening to the wind
through the jack pines.

And I was never alone,
never afraid.

Rattlesnakes, bears;

Falling, drowning;
it could happen.

But nothing ever
touched me.

God was there, guiding my feet, my hands,
leading me on.

Pulling me up from the deep, cold water into the fresh air,
into the light of the kind, warm sun.


—James Lee Jobe

One foot in the grave
and one foot on the pedal,
I was born a rebel      —Tom Petty

I like to listen to Tom Petty

with a Sacramento freeway rolling

underneath me and the sun herself

singing along    —hey hey hey!

I was born a rebel! The city unwinds

around me, a snake coiled and built

with sweat, steel, concrete, asphalt,

and more than a few complaints.

Even the skyscrapers rock back

and forth in time with music—

down in Dixie on a Sunday morning!

My old station wagon throbs and pulses

with the beat, then finally gives up, stands

on its hind wheels and dances! I dance, too!

Look at the middle-aged man, dancing

with his car on Interstate 80!

Finally, even the other commuters join in!—

I've got one foot in the grave, one foot

on the pedal, I was born a rebel!

I like to listen to Tom Petty

with a Sacramento freeway flowing

underneath me. I was born a rebel.

I was born a rebel.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Look, here's a footprint—
proof in sand that someone passed
this way, toe pointed north,

honeycomb-tread so worn
it must be one of those friend-
adventurers crossing paths in the dark

with me, between the common
landmarks—a cairn; a monolith; a beam
of light on a rock-eroding coast;

at high-water line, a message
in a bottle; a new star full of shine.
They say, bottle-messages

are useless, pure poetry.
But here's an ancient tale I hold up
to the light, and twist until I can

discern my path inside. Every
shoreline is a threshold.
Should I leave the message

as a sign, and save the bottle, or
toss it back to sea? Or might I sail it
with our story on the universal waves?


—Katy Brown, Davis

The weaving of this poem began
with naming the stars in a yard at night;
with planting wild roses from cuttings:

local landscapes of a larger world.
The almond tree outside a window
became the ladder to a crow’s nest

on the pitching roof of a post-war house;
a trip to the basement to fetch jelly,
a raid on a pirate’s cave.

The landscape of this poem
is a complex web of several childhoods,
several hauntings by luminous spirits.

We’ve each learned the language of rock
and tree. We chart our separate courses
by the wind’s twelve quarters.

We share a common star, lost
out beyond Arcturus: our most personal
beliefs, shared between us like a song. . . .


Today's LittleNip: 

Art: vehicle and destination.

—Stephen Dobyns


—Medusa (who hopes you got a chance to see yesterday's photos by D.R. Wagner, which were posted late due to a Blogspot iss-ee-yoo...)

—Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax

—Ronald Edwin Lane

This snow will pass
The landscape will change
Even that etched in glass
Won’t remain the same