Monday, November 26, 2012

The Earth Laughs

—James Lee Jobe, Davis

Yes, even among mice; God is there,

blessing them with crumbs to find,

long tails, and furry paws.

In the streets people have stacked automobiles

like a Tower of Babel; the pile of autos

now reaches the stars.  

God climbs that tall monstrosity

and blesses the people inside,
listening to prayers over their car radios.

In the pines woods on the mountainside

are God's blessings of deer, raccoons, 

snow, sweet rivers, and even the occasional bear.

God blesses us with dreams, hope, and hearts

that hold love; how long since you fell

to your knees in praise and thanks? 
Even in the mirror, my friend, look closely,

especially in the sad souls of the eyes;

God is everywhere!


—James Lee Jobe
Her sage burns
on the altar of Abraham.

Smoke rising,
watched by the eyes of children.

A gown of silk, voluptuous,
bare feet on rich earth.

The fruit of her dark breast
feeds the souls of many.

The bed of her dark womb
nestles these souls in rest.

My thanks I hold in my hands,
raised up to Heaven.


—James Lee Jobe

Every dawn it happens. 

Just when all is most still, 

Blessed with night, 

And as quiet as sleep, 

Then the heavy black curtain 

Raises up just a little, 

Maybe an inch, 

Maybe less, 

And the first kiss

Of daylight peeks in 

On us all,

Like a laughing child 

Slipping under the flap 

Of the circus tent. 

Ho! The earth laughs 

And then opens wide, 

And the sweet newborn 


Pours in like a bath of light,

Like a miracle, 

And so it is. 

And it happens everyday.

—Photo by Taylor Graham


returns, returns. The sweater never fits.
Those colors that enticed her on the rack
make her cadaverous. A hairline crack
required the bowl's replacement, which now sits
in her closet. EXCHANGES knows her; it's
her first stop every time, in letters black:
RETURNS. Returns

is like a mantra, like a bird that flits
to Capistrano, always coming back—
those swallows ever seeking what they lack.
The restless forth-&-back that never quits,
returns, returns.

—Taylor Graham, Placerville


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

He knows every inch of this path
that cuts down from oak-hill to the verge
of creek. In his head, a lifetime of scent-trails
woven like spider silk, a web so complex

it maps his world as he unravels it. But today,
his quarry turned left and he goes straight
ahead, as if lost in reminiscence of trails past.
Forgetfulness? He pauses, sniffs, circles,

and squats, giving back to nature
what is nature's; enriching next spring's
tenacious, frenzied growth. Now he
tests the wind. Scent, an old dog's elixir.

Echoes, dreams. He resumes his trail,
as I resume the tale I'll tell in his training-log.
It's true as it may be false, twisted
as words following in an old dog's wake.

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Black dog knows he is observed and adored; his
steady breath, gentle gaze out the cottage window.

A bright morning shoved into a closet by 8am invites
no one with cane-in-hand to stroll a brick-lined path.

I think of her often: her word-grace, her casual smile-
of-earnest, her green eyes, her nodding of carrot hair.

That woodpecker works hard at his drilling, adding his
share of noise to the ungreased wheel of morning.

Penned-poems, dreamed, cause rapid-eye-movement.
But the poem in your eyes is what moves me… often.

Who has read our names on postal parchment aloud
that they would know our words are so entwined?


—Carol Louise Moon
There are these birds of white who drape the trees
that wade in bayou green up to their knees.

Louisiana has the greenest parks
in which to film a day of light and dark.

The tourist captures in a tiny box
the beauty of the trees and hanky flocks

flying up like tissue in the air.
They land back down on branches that were bare

of white just now. I pause to watch them preen
themselves, and feel so lucky to have seen

these graceful birds today. As I jog back
with camera in my hand, I jog a path

with others who explore the wonders here
and film the changing seasons through the year.


—Carol Louise Moon

Barnacles had the look of cupcakes
to her, and sometimes "mini Martian volcanoes,"
she said. But barnacles were never strange to her
as she wrapped up in woolens by the sea.
We knew her to be a little strange, single-minded,
and in her older years very eccentric.
When she spoke of barnacles
her eyes peered and leered as if
gazing into a tide pool.
"Nothing matters to barnacles but water,"
she said as if all she saw up close
could be summed up in a simple statement.
It is the observer of marine life that
must learn the difference between
breathing water and breathing air, between
facts of truth and facts of conscience.
She taught like the best, by offering herself
and her own observations.  And the student must
search and know according to his conscience.
We see her now turning a shell over
and over in her delicate hands.
We remember her lectures, her upturned lips,
her scanty brow, her squinting and peering
as if gazing into a tide pool.


Thanks to today's contributors for working with our "gratitude" Seed of the Week, including Michael Cluff and James Lee Jobe: check out for poetry, reviews and other poetphernalia. Taylor Graham sends us a rondine, proving once again that the subject of a form poem can be an important way to make use of that form. You can see TG and share poems with her at tonight's Poetry in Motion read-around in Placerville; see the blue board at the right of this for details. 

Thanks to Katy Brown for fine pics of upstate California; be sure to check out Medusa's Facebook page for Katy's latest album.

And thanks to Carol Louise Moon, the new editor of Sac. Poetry Center's Poetry Now []! Carol Louise is busy in local poetry, including being the editor of DADs DESK. She points out that her "Hanky Birds" poem is a couplet sonnet of heroic couplets.

Speaking of Sacramento Poetry Center, there will be a reading tonight at SPC featuring Mary Mackey and Michael Spurgeon (plus open mic), 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm. And this coming Thursday (11/29), Burnett and Mimi Miller will be holding the annual SPC Benefit at their beautiful home (1224 40th St., Sac.) from 6:30-8:30pm, featuring Jeff Knorr, Victoria Dalkey, and the Foothills Wind Quintet—plus fine food and libations and a raffle besides! No RSVP required; cost is $30, or $20 for SPC members.


Today's LittleNip:

—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

The colors of the new day
adhere to their own logic
as do those of the night,
a fish is born
without my will
to replace another who died
earlier in October.
The purple marker feels
so pleasant in my hand
while diagramming
the contours of a cummings poem
and my own type
of sonnet
maybe enjoyed or exploded
here or in Haiti or even in old Suriname.



Red Leaves in Cherry Creek
—Photo by Katy Brown