—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Our ground is a dusty hog stretched
under cloudless sky. Thirsty. He should be
rooting in mud, a glory of muck.
In my mind’s archives: a ski-trek
up through lodgepole and juniper. My dog
leads the way, printing her single-track
across still, white meadow.
Mules-ear and paintbrush sleep
under a comforter of snow, dreaming
of thaw, of blooming.
From a treetop, oracle Raven calls—
Snow-survey was a bomb. Your friend
the hydrologist reports less rain
than the worst recorded drought-years.
In my mind I climb to a rainbow garden—
lupine and columbine, larkspur
along a snowmelt creek
fringed in willow and warbler-song.
Clear water giggles with sun
that sweeps above clouds—clouds
bunching dark over the summit, promise
of summer storm.
This winter morning, a shaft
of rainbow—ice crystals in cloud.
No pot of gold until it rains.
BACK WHEN WINTERS NEVER ENDED
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove
Froze an ear once, walking to class.
Could have worn a cap or something,
But we were tougher back in
Or thought we were.
Even so, next day, I changed
My major to something
Closer to the dorm.
THE WEATHER THEN
Simply put, it sucked.
It rained from Labor Day,
When school started, till
It started snowing. Snowed
Till Easter, then it began
Raining till June. Then we
All went home. There
Was no weather in
Over the summer.
Wore black rubber boots.
Always, but never buckled
Them. He stumbled a lot.
And his maps were always
Creased and wrinkled.
—James Lee Jobe, Davis
The frost on the window,
lit up by the sunrise.
A friendly warmth
from the coffee pot.
and with it, gloves and a scarf.
A frozen morning, and winter treads
on frosty footsteps.
Later, when the sun is warmer,
something cold and free stays with us.
Something like a gift from the winter,
from the morning.
bold and splendid.
full of ourselves.
—James Lee Jobe
Some magic in the landscape has put me under a spell. I see your face on the tip of a bare, winter tree branch; an oak tree that is full of faces, and every one is different! There is a magic in this valley that captures me. The midwinter Tule fog on the marshes and the rivers is an old friend come to call. We pour the tea and sip together, friends under the same spell. Yes, I love the valley, and I love the long winters that we have here, and I have seen many of them!
WINTER IN THE HOLY LAND
—James Lee Jobe
Hungry Syrian children gather at the fence
of the freezing refugee camp.
Maybe today the trucks will come
with food and blankets.
In Ramallah, on the West Bank, a missile flies overhead
then another. And another.
The people at the market don't know where they came from,
or who launched them, or who might be killed.
Probably the innocent ones; a child, a priest,
a worker somewhere, a mother.
Nearby Israeli troops clean their weapons, standing guard
and smoking European cigarettes.
They have thick coats and warm boots,
made in America like their bullets.
From here, you could walk to where Jesus,
of the House of David, was born.
You could kneel in the dirt and pray;
perhaps it is time that we did.
Here's a question: If you click on Red Fox Underground Poet Irene Lipshin's new blog, will you see (1) poetry, (2) photos, (3) that Irene broke her ankle, or (4) all of the above? Click on it and find out: picturepoet-irene.blogspot.com
Speaking of the Red Foxes, you may be aware that Founder Brigit Truex moved to Kentucky a while back. She wrote to me a couple of days ago, saying that there are no poetry readings less than 70 miles away from her, despite the presence of two universities in her town. Ouch. NorCal poets don't know how lucky they are—readings, readings, readings, and we don't even have to travel 70 miles.
Speaking of readings, Sacramento will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Stephen Dunn one week from today on Wednesday, Feb. 12 (2-4pm) at the Central Library, along with Barbara Hurd and Sonoma County choral ensemble Take Jack. Sac. Poetry Center President Bob Stanley says that over 70 tickets have been sold, so be sure to get yours NOW for $15 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/492569
In the green box at the right of this column, under the brain, is a notice about Kevin Jones reading at the Jeffers Conference in Carmel next weekend. Check it out.
Katy Brown heard tell of a new reading series, this one an open mic called Winters Out Loud which will be held on the fourth Thursdays each month from 7-9pm at Root Stock, 22 Main St., Winters. Hosts: Deborah Saw, Roy Pits. Info: Roy at 530-908-7160.
Also in my email bag recently was a letter from Bay Area poet Connie Post, listing a couple of articles that she found interesting. I pass them on in hopes they might be helpful. She sends us:
A very informative and useful article by Diane Lockward on submitting poetry manuscripts (for those of you interested or just starting this process):
And a good one from The Review Review on “What editors want”:
And just yesterday I received the latest copy of DADs DESK, our local Large Print Poetry Journal edited by Carol Louise Moon. This issue features Amy Schoonover and is available from Carol Louise at email@example.com
Finally, I figured our friends back East (such as BeeZee Niditch) could use a few desert pix to offset all their snow, so I've posted some of Cynthia Linville's today, and I've also put together an album of her desert photos for Facebook. Check it out on Medusa's Facebook page—it rocks!—so to speak... :-)
CALIFORNIA WINTER RAIN
—James Lee Jobe
Let me live this life
Like a California winter rain.
Let me leave nothing untouched!