Monday, July 18, 2016

Enough Hell to Share

Victoria Mendoza Folklorico Dancers
Calif. State Fair, 2016
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
Cheese, the crust of the earth,
The unmade bed built of dreams from last week,
Last month, last year.
Also—brand new dreams and more cheese.
Bread, a loaf fresh from the oven,
Take it from my hand.
Coffee-scented whiskers,
Hands without callouses,
And the gnarled feet of an old man.
Tomorrow is a promise never made,
And yesterday has been thankfully forgotten.
Shoulder the moment and bear its weight,
Lift it with strength and passion.
Find something to love and love it.
Rinse, repeat.


—James Lee Jobe

Talking your way out of death. Cutting down a tree
With a small folding pocket knife. Or seeking truth
In the world of small men. Continuing on with no strength left
And no reason to do it anyway. Living like a spider fighting
To stay alive in the draining dishwater. Sitting down at night
And not knowing where the day went; didn't you
Only just wake up? Fishing when you have only one arm.
Being angry over something ridiculous like a traffic signal
Or the wind. Surrender. Surrender. You were not born
To win or lose, but you were born; isn't that enough?


—James Lee Jobe

Hard times, some days the gravediggers just can't work fast enough,
    and there isn't enough Hell to go around.
Some people have to go without their fair share of suffering,
    and you know that just isn't right.
Don't worry about it, though; times will get better again,
    they always do, eventually.
Sooner or later there will be enough suffering for everyone,
    with enough Hell to share and some to spare.
Staying positive about things is up to us.

 Victoria Mendoza Folklorico Dancers
Calif. State Fair, 2016
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

Coyote would like
To be your friend.
But that would probably
Mean forgiving him
About the chickens.
And the garden
Gnomes too.

Coyote didn’t
Do it.  Said
It was wolf.
After all,
Are friends for?

As a pup, Coyote
Had friends,
Till the toy box
Was empty and
All the comic
Books read.

Friends said
They wanted
To take him
For a ride.
But Coyote
Was able
To find his way
Back home

“It’s a friendship
Ring,” they said.
“They make them
From plastic nowadays,”
Coyote marveled.

Coyote didn’t mean
To preach to you
About friendship.
Just wanted
To get a few things
Down before he
As often happens
With Coyote.

 —Photo by Caschwa

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

A recent TV show was
Talking about how the ancients
May have been visited by

Now keep in mind
These ancients existed way back before
The “discovery” of North America
When the Earth was believed to be flat

So maybe these extraterrestrials
Really came from
Just around the corner
True Earth neighbors

Possibly from what is now known as
The Skunk Works, Area 51
A remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base,
Within the Nevada Test and Training Range

Or maybe these extraterrestrials were
What is now the intellectual property
Of one of many television
And motion picture studios

Or like suggested on the TV show
Maybe we are the extraterrestrials
And the other strange beings were simply
Here on Earth before us

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Yesterday I heard someone
Speaking Japanese
Which I could not understand at all
Until I heard the phrase “bye bye”

Which triggered my mind to gear up
In readiness for other
Familiar sounding expressions
That didn’t happen

I later learned that I had actually heard
The Japanese term for trade
Which is more properly expressed
In English as “buy buy”

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The poetry of others is sometimes
Read with the hope that the poet
Is a catch and release fisherman

Offering to readers some of those
Slippery, fleeting moments we had
Failed to etch in our memory

 Champagne with You
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA

Solve for x
Siphon from this stranger
My indecent skull
And after that descent
Apply a salve
Of honey and locust
Or should you prefer
Something stronger
A local anaesthetic
Dynamite perhaps
When I was schooled
Dinosaurs still roamed
And I rue my sloth
Those sylvan days


—Robert Lee Haycock

Surfeit of trains
Dearth of food for my friends
Glove box full of useless maps
Nary a glove to be found
In naught but my winding sheet
I am marooned

 Champagne with You
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock

Listen closely, my love
My significant own-ness
Instigator of cathedrals
Lighter of invisible lamps
Your feet bite vacancy
Bludgeon the ground
With muscle and calcium
At the junction of soil and skin
You are hereby charged
With being hopelessly
In love and sentenced
To untold unfelt kisses
And in my assessment
You got off lightly

 Victoria Mendoza Folklorico Dancers
Calif. State Fair, 2016
—Photo by Michelle Kunert


Our thanks to today’s contributors for their fine poetry and pix!

Lytton Bell reads at Sacramento’s Fremont Park tonight, 7:30pm, as part of Sac. Poetry Center’s Hot Poetry in the Park series. Then cool down on Wed. for the cool, cool poetry of Jeanine Stevens who will read in the cool, cool South Lake Tahoe air, celebrating her new book,
Inheritor, at Keynote Records and Books, 7pm. (Owner Ray Hadley is a fine poet himself who has published with Rattlesnake Press and other venues.) Thursday brings (at least) three choices: Poetry at the Central Library at noon, Jennifer O’Neill Pickering and guests at Poetry Unplugged at 8pm, and Poet Melissa Goodrum with Musician Timothy Nutter at Poetry in Davis, 8pm. Saturday brings the monthly Poetic License read-around in Placerville, 2pm. Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box at the right) for info about this and other upcoming readings in our area—and note that other readings may be added at the last minute.

Note also that this coming Saturday, July 23, is the deadline for the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest: go to for details.

We have a new photo album on Medusa’s Facebook page: Cal. State Fair at Night by Cynthia Linville, and many thanks to her for that. (For a virtual roller coaster ride, go to for Medusa at Six Flags in Vallejo. Speaking of Hell to Share…!)


Today’s LittleNip:

—James Lee Jobe

If I enjoyed parties at all I might even have one,
But really I don't. Miserable happy chatter,
No one even thinking about death,
How can people enjoy themselves
If they're not miserable? To be happy
Without being depressed? What's the use
In that? If only I drank, I would drink to you...
Oh, hell; probably not.



 James Lee Jobe

Celebrate poetry with James Lee Jobe on his blog, 

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.