Saturday, May 04, 2019

The Ghost in the Closet

No. Absolutely Not. 
—Poems and Photos by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA

There is a ghost that sleeps in that closet, and
There is a creature that hides beneath this bed.

The ghost lives for those tiny moments
When it can the squeak my door hinges
In the darkness.
The creature lives to bite off the toes
Of little boys like me.
And swallow them.

In the back of my grandparents' basement
There is a small room, sectioned off.
Never, never go back there.
If you do, the light will go out
And you will not be seen again.

And those woods beyond the trailer park?
For daytime only. Not for nighttime.
There are things in there that eat children.

I can tell you this because I am survivor.
My big sister, Dottie, she’s a survivor, too.
And she explained it all to me. Many times.


Waking up at sunrise
To see the power of the universe
And to breathe in a draught of life.


 As Poet Laureate of Davis, I declare myself
Poet-in-Residence of Putah Creek.

A flatness that doesn’t require people. West of the Sierra Nevada, the Sacramento Valley seems as wide and long as tomorrow. The wind moves like an all powerful goddess, and she whispers to the trees as they bend in greeting. Drained by the Sacramento River and fed by the notion of a vast emptiness, to walk here is to enter the void. The flatness goes on. Tomorrow will arrive in its own good time.


Everything has a bright side
If you look closely enough,
Even being very sick. Look at me;
Here it is spring
And I hardly bothered with winter.

 Birds like me. That's Pico Verde—my conure.

T’was two nights before Christmas, about sunset,
And I was working in the kitchen,
Loudly singing a Christmas carol,
When it hit me like a cheap punch out of nowhere;
My son is gone,
My son is gone.
And I wept, sitting on the floor,
With the tea kettle whistling.

 Birds like me. That's Woody the cocatiel. 
I birdsit him sometimes.

A half moon, a lone owl; 
Its empty call floats
From out of the oaks and pines,
But I can’t tell from where.
Midnight lays across the land.


Just how lovely is the sky?
      Friend, every day
It rises above the farmland,
A beautiful backdrop.
      Even over the graveyard.

Later the radiation from that power plant
would take my hair.

No moon, a perfect darkness
As the Sacramento River marches south.
This river is an army on the move.
And me? What am I? A pine tree,
A bristlecone pine obscured by pitch-black night
Among all the trees along the river bank.
—Well, no man is really a pine tree
And no river is really an army.
It is the strength of living I am talking about.
Midnight here, it is morning in London and Paris,
Along the banks of the Thames and the Seine.
A dark night, a new day.
Rivers in motion as the earth is in motion.
People in motion.
Light and darkness, life goes on.
This world goes around.


Today’s LittleNip:

My knees are shot
My hair is receding—
Still the same; your smile.

—James Lee Jobe


An early-May thank-you to James Lee Jobe for freshening our weekend with his fine poems and photos! “Light and darkness, life goes on…”

The second annual issue of
Levee Magazine will be presented at a release party tonight, 7:30pm, at Sac. Poetry Center. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, celebrating poetry!

 “A dark night, a new day.” —JLJ
—Anonymous Photo

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