My life is a library
filled with stacks of books
that are maddeningly tall.
Some grow so tall
that they fall over,
and so new stacks are born.
These marry other stacks,
and make families.
Soon, a city of books.
Then a nation.
Then a world.
That's my life, friend.
Welcome to my library.
Come on in.
A sea of illusion surrounds the island of my tiny life.
High tide comes, and washes over the way I live
and what I am. What am I? I wonder that, wet.
And what will I become when I am dry once again.
Your flesh is like red wine,
dark and rich.
In the deeps of a precious night
we toast each other.
This life is a circle, like your lips in a kiss.
Now I am moving around and around
in love and in life. Together with you.
The sky at night is beautiful, like a woman
revealing the corners of her soul.
Yes, she is taking off her gown to stand naked before you,
but she is giving you a far greater gift than just her body.
She is giving you the stars of the Milky Way,
she is handing you the Cloud Nebula,
and all you have to do is love her.
The blue night above the cold water of Lake Berryessa.
The white moon, alone against the black sky.
Not a star to be seen.
It could be that all of our souls together
make up the body of one vast soul.
Such is the grace of night.
These things are the rags of God, pitiful garments
worn in the presence of humans.
Prayer is a blessing of solitude, conversation with The One.
Yes, our souls join together, here, now, everywhere.
We are one soul.
(for Jose Montoya)
"I live for this art of mine," I said,
"Or perhaps it is a craft."
"Is it a chaotic, bohemian life?"
He asked me that with a sound in his voice
as though he already knew my answer,
and that answer was yes.
What did he expect of me?
That because I am a poet
I must live a life of wine and women?
A life without roots or rules?
Friend, that isn't true at all.
Like most people, I have rules I live by.
Praise the light and the dark equally.
Be true to your family and friends.
Be honest in your business dealings.
Try to cause no harm to anyone.
Be thankful for your life and your soul.
If you can help, then help.
Look hard to see the joy in things,
especially the hard things.
Let go and laugh when you feel it,
and when the rain falls, dance.
Time was passing and I still hadn't answered.
He was waiting, not for truth,
but to be correct, and thus superior,
which meant that he was not superior at all.
"Yes," I said, "Chaos. It's anarchic."
We parted ways then, both of us pleased;
he was pleased for his superiority,
and I was pleased because I had a poem to write.
My voice will not die
when my body dies.
My words and my thoughts
will live on in these poems.
My love will stay strong
in the hearts of my children.
Send my body to the earth
and my soul to the heavens.
Let my words and my poems stay
on the pages where I left them.
And let my children carry on here,
and bring on another generation.
My voice will not die
when my body dies.
A crane made of folded paper comes to life.
Then another. And another. One thousand in all.
Alive, these cranes wade out from the cold marsh.
One thousand paper cranes take flight as one.
This life is magic, and we are the magicians.
May I be spared the illusion
that even one second belongs to me.
I own nothing.
There is only that which I do,
and that which I don't do.
The rest is an illusion.
—James Lee Jobe
Many thanks to James Lee Jobe for this morning’s fine poems and photos!
Writers on the Air meets at Sac. Poetry Center this morning from 9:30am to 1pm, and Poetic License poetry read-around meets today in Placerville at the Sr. Center, 2-4pm. 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.
U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith has been appointed to a second term (2018-2019). For info, see www.finebooksmagazine.com/press/2018/03/librarian-of-congress-appoints-tracy-k-smith-to-second-term-as-poet-laureate.phtml/. She will be selecting 25 poems to be featured in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series for April, which is National Poetry Month; go to www.broadwayworld.com/bwwbooks/article/US-Poet-Laureate-Tracy-K-Smith-Picks-25-Poems-For-National-Poetry-Month-20180319 to have them sent to you and for more information about National Poetry Month.
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