Saturday, October 13, 2018

Raise High the Glass of Dark Milk

—Poems by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Anonymous Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

I am drinking the dark milk.
I offer no defense against the razors of the sky
Or that secret language of computers and governments.
Look at my scars, they have a taste. They have an odor,
And that odor is foul.
Scars with the scent of sin, the scent of guilt.
The smell of dark milk in a dirty glass. I am nothing.
I can live with that.
Come here to me. Stand under the light,
I want to look at your naked body up close.
The tiny mountains of your nipples.
The soft curl of your pubic hair.
I want to trace the shape of your lips under a harsh light,
Under a bare bulb. Now I am putting my hands on your face.
I am stroking the gentle line of your jaw
With the symphony of my fingers.
Now I am taking your hands in mine, moving your hands to my body.
This is where I want you to touch me. Here.
And here.
Look at the razors of the sky.
Listen to the secret language of computers and governments.
Raise high the glass of dark milk.
Touch my scars with your cool, sweet tongue.
Now the odor is lavender,
Now the odor is jasmine.
Here, I am turning low the lights in the room.
Our bodies are naked and touching for the full length of our being.
You are safe here. I am nothing.
We are nothing.
We can live with that. 

See how her skin fits your lips in the oval of midnight.
Naked against you under blankets in the cold metal of winter.
She is arching up to meet your pleasure, and outside it is the city
But here in the dark it is the sweetness of her animal sounds.
Just before, you would not have believed that this was your life.
Just before, you would been staring at the blackness of the room
And wondering why this was the symphony of being alone.
And see also her brown breasts across the pain of your face.
See the weak light from the hall flash across the bareness
Of her lovely stomach as you rise and fall, rise and fall,
Rise and fall. See this one being with two souls and two bodies.  

Your hands held the syllables and vowels by the kind roses
Of your fingertips. Your hands pulled the sweet sunlight up
Over this sleeping man, until I awoke. Your hands, feathered,
Fluttered like the wings of graceful birds, larks perhaps,
Or barn owls, and flew into the most quiet quarters
Of this tall brick home. Your hands, like fire, like ice,
Like summer, like winter, like the bones of my own soul.
Your hands of the long shadows of an afternoon, of the dear
Valleys of that morning when we both smiled. Your hands
Of the sweet smell of the blooming summer jasmine. Your hands
On my naked skin, bring me back from the dead, bringing me
To life. Your hands, the turquoise idols that bless the altar
Of my prayers. Your hands of olive oil and sweet bread,
Of fresh tomatoes, of oak trees and lilacs. Your hands
In mine. Your hands on the mantle of this marriage.
Your hands that send me signals and touch me with truth.
Your hands. Your hands. Your eyes full of tomorrow. 

In this dream the sick flowers are coughing blood on the feet of the nurses.
Here, the river is charging down the side of the rusted mountain,
Washing the low places before it. You can see for yourself.
Sinatra is singing something about the supernova of yet another dwarf star.
Here, there is no calendar, no clock, no schedule, and no fences
To hold back the stomping feet of time, no need to exhale, only to inhale.
In this dream the sick flowers are dropping to the emergency room floor,
And a code has been called, but no one is answering it.
The river has washed away the blood, and the nurses have turned away,
And one by one they have begun to climb the mountain.

I am eating Peking duck from a bag
While watching the ducks on Putah Creek.
This world can be harsh, and I want to do right in it.
I have rejected cruelty from my life as much
As I can. I have begun to shy away from violent films
And TV shows. I watch what I say, I make an effort
To not hurt people with my words. I want to do good
In this life, the best I can with the time I have left.
The creek is lovely here, slow, dark. The ducks
Are used to people eating on these benches,
And they make ripples in the thick water as they swim
Toward me. Not know what I am eating, the first one
Approaches me. I pull a bite size piece of meat
From the bone and toss to him. He makes happy sounds
As he unwittingly swallows his way into cannibalism.
Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.


Today’s LittleNip:

I love the red flames that are tipped with blue;
Tell me, why do you dance around the fire?

—James Lee Jobe


Our thanks to James Lee Jobe for his fine poetry and photos today! James reminds us that he will be hosting The Other Voice in Davis this coming Friday, Oct. 19, featuring Jennifer O’Neill Pickering and John Bell, plus open mic, at the Unitarian Universalist Church library on Patwin Road, 7:30pm. And don’t forget James’ blog for Yolo County poets:, currently featuring SnakePal Katy Brown.

Speaking of Davis, don’t forget today’s 11th Annual Jazz & Beat Fest at John Natsoulas Center for the Arts from 2-9pm, with 7 bands on 2 stages and live painting by Tait Takai. Also tonight: Second Saturday Reception for “Healing Images: Art from Body, Mind & Soul”, from 5-8pm in Sacramento at Sac. Poetry Center. 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!


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