Along my street this late July,
interior lights blink gold,
lights that brighten narrow walls.
Just ordinary houses
but how invisible filaments
ignite crimson corridors,
passageways that lead
to a simple kitchen where two
She picks at invisible threads
on her apron. He taps
a finger on the side
of the cold Formica.
They have agreed to wait
until the mist rises and reveals
moonlight across summer
statues, just enough
to hold this brief conversation,
so easy, so difficult.
~After Charles Wright
Weak and weaker, moonlight
dusts morning’s objects, outlines
I sit with cup and saucer, a donut’s
new typewriter ribbon in place,
and the presence
twin skunks left in blue air.
With rapid speed,
the spendthrift afternoon squanders
languishes in a half sleep.
Evening Osmanthus exudes its own
sweetness. Cut by saline tainted wind,
brackish tide slides toward the sea.
Yet, in another deftly stitched dawn,
I imagine a thing so obvious so
ordinary, so plain, a thing
unveils what was always visible,
the fiery stars of morning,
those erroneous myths
chasing the crescent moon.
I miss being five years old…
My parents both were strong, vibrant
They were not sick
their laughs were in sync.
I watched football with my father
He would become Howard Cosell
commenting on Montana and White
or Walsh and Landry.
I played Basketball
pretended I was Dr. J
putting the ball behind my back
as I went for a layup.
I loved Christmas
My sisters smiled
as my mother made rhubarb pie.
I would nap on my mother’s lap
she would run her fingers
through my cherry-red hair.
I was introduced to Star Wars and G-Force.
I imagined I was Luke
my brother was Darth Vader
or I was Mark and my brother was Zoltar.
My mother kissed me goodnight
My father kissed me goodnight
I would go to sleep
Fat buddy, Dexter, and my dog Dina
would be by my side
protecting me from the monsters
and whatever else
was lurking in my room.
How long could I make that bliss last
You were so beautiful in your white gown.
I had thought of this day often
I would go over and over
what advice I would give you
as I gave you away.
I reminisced about you
in your younger days
when you fantasized and dreamed
about being a princess.
I smiled as you told me stories
of how you would spend
your fairytale days bathing
in the ocean as you swam
with other mermaids
I loved how happy you were
living in this world of make-believe.
No double shifts, no selling our souls,
no going to the food bank,
no saving our last few dollars
just to get through the week
or to buy enough food for the month.
When you were a princess
or mermaid your troubles vanished
you were able to dance in a world of frills
and where flowers bloomed constantly.
Going over memories in my mind
I wondered had I prepared
you for the future
for the tides that may come
the scrapes and falls that will occur.
You have been waiting a long time
for this moment
You are so happy
your smile infinite
your eyes so wide and big.
Now as I dance with you
and give you away
I only encourage you
to continue to swim with the fish
with other mermaids, dress up
as a princess, and to tell stories
as often as you can.
—James Lee Jobe, Davis
The back porch was screened in
and dark, and all night we made love there.
This was long ago in our youth, a hot night,
a bright moon and a dull street lamp,
a porch swing, an old sofa covered
with a white sheet. Naked, your skin
shining with sweat, you seemed to glow
above me. There was loud music on
inside the house. You picked up the beat,
pushing me down on the sofa. June bugs
on the street lamp made odd little noises,
then I, too, became a june bug.
I became a summer night.
SUMMER SOLSTICE, 2010
—James Lee Jobe
3 o'clock in the morning. I can't sleep, and I'm sitting on a bench, tucked away in a corner of the big park across the street from my house. The park is silent and cool, like a river stone. I come here often when I can't sleep. Sometimes night after night. Just for a little while. No one will bother me, not even the police, even though the park closes at sunset. Why should they? A middle-aged man in pajamas, slippers, and a big bathrobe, with a walking cane, watching the stars and the moon. Sometimes I even nod off for a few minutes, right there on the bench.
This night, a friendly field mouse emerges from the perfect grass of the soccer field, marches right up to me, and speaks.
"Beg pardon, sir? You could save me a lot of work if you would look in the rubbish bin for me. Would you, please? I eat almost anything."
Looking in, I tell him, "You're in luck! Here's some french fries and most of a hot dog."
"Excellent! Oh, thank you! Could you set them in the grass, please?"
"Do you check these bins every night?"
"No, but you look like a friendly guy, and this is the shortest night of the year. I have less time for searching. Plus that owl might be about."
"Do mice celebrate summer solstice?"
"We sleep late, very late, and have extra little mousy dreams."
How sweet, I thought later, while staring at my ceiling; a field mouse telling an insomniac about sleeping late on the shortest night of the year. Mice can be cheeky like that.
—James Lee Jobe
Soft and easy, a summer evening.
A little breeze that makes the candles dance.
The purple stripes over the western hills begin fading to black.
Then night walks in as quiet as a grandfather.
When did the crickets begin singing?
When did the pale moon slip from behind the clouds, so lovely?