I had always been somewhat uncomfortable
Inside of my own skin, so it was that wolves took me in.
I slept better with the warmth of their fur around me.
I learned to hunt with the pack. When the moon was full
I joined my family, canis lupus, under the glorious light.
Even now, in the meaty hours I still run and howl.
Your soul is a frozen orange,
And you brought me here to peel your cold skin.
My soul? Very warm fingers.
The apples are watching as I set to work
At freeing the fruit in you.
What I find most interesting,
Is that as I free you, I also become more free.
When you are naked, my liberation will be complete.
Does this make for odd poetry?
Yes, but my fingers and I can live with that.
It is a raw dawn on the morning of the poor.
"Be thankful," they are told, "Here is your daily crust."
The feathers of the wealthy have been groomed for the ball.
The day passes quickly for those who are pleasured.
Evening is a pistol and a whip; all the knives have been sharpened.
There will be fresh meat. "Where did the day go?"
Even as the poor ones scurry off, the music begins to play,
And the sound of laughter escapes the ballroom
The way a balloon escapes a child's hand.
Late one night Life woke in a fright,
Opening its eyes in the dark.
What did Life see?
Still and silent blackness.
What did Life feel?
The chill of cold air
On its sweat-dampened skin,
A fear that can creep in
While the world is sleeping.
Life laid back down on the bed,
But it didn't sleep. Not that night.
Willing myself to become invisible,
I walk right out of the prison.
But friend, are you truly free
If not even one person can see you?
A fog rises from the earth.
A cool, misty blanket.
As gray as a soul.
Archangels wade in the river shallows, like herons.
They seem to be looking for something,
But I don't ask them about it.
I am a small wooden boat, and time is my anchor.
I have pennies in a bucket, lots of them.
From the shore, the sound of the music of Bach
Being played on a cello.
Pablo Casals, in his eighties, was asked why he still practiced.
"I think I am making progress," he said.
I raise the anchor and shove off into the fog.
I think I am making progress, too.
Keep the fires burning for whatever god you love the most.
The most private of prayers burns in the most quiet of hours.
You and the flame. Faith and fire. The drumbeat of the earth.
The whispers of heaven in the quiet folds of your ears.
You have a secret name, and you speak it in the firelight.
—James Lee Jobe
Our thanks to James Lee Jobe for today’s fine poetry and photos! More of James Lee can be found at james-lee-jobe.blogspot.com/.
On Sunday (4/15) at 2pm, James Lee will host a new, 3rd-Sunday-of-the-month reading series in Davis, the Davis Arts Center Poetry Series. April will feature Andy Jones and Connie Post. Davis Arts is at the corner of F St. and Covell in Davis. Free! Info: www.facebook.com/events/168786593822952/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1522347877461285/.
And tonight, starting at 5:30pm, the Pablo Neruda Music, Art, & Poetry Festival will take place at Todo Un Poco Bistro, 9080 Laguna Main St., Elk Grove, featuring William O’Daly reading from his new book of Neruda translations, The Book of Twilight, and other poets, musicians and artists. Free. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
Celebrate poetry—and poets!
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