—Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe
California is cold tonight, and it feels like my friends are all a thousand miles away. The clouds are full, it will rain before bedtime. From the stove, the aroma of the chicken I am baking fills the room, forcing the loneliness outside. Good riddance. From the window I can watch the loneliness move down the dark street, walking with its head down and its hands in its pockets.
Yes, I am free. And with this freedom I am watching the sunbeams break through the branches, leaves, and shadows of the many trees. I am free to be one with the light, and I am free to be one with the shadow.
Welcome to America, we have a little space
In the cage for you, squeeze in.
You came to America for freedom? Yes?
For you, freedom is a locked cage
And a cruel guard.
You came to America for justice? Yes?
For you, justice is a punchline to a weak joke
On a television sitcom.
The studio audience will laugh, but not you.
You won’t get the joke. You are the joke.
Freedom and justice are for the white people
Born here, not for you.
Now get in your fucking cage.
I am reading The Beatitudes in Matthew when a ghost rises up from my Bible. "Live your life like a cycle of the moon," it tells me. Going outside and looking at the dark sky, I see that the moon is pretty full, and the stars are spread out like soldiers before their commander. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." I say that to the moon and stars, because there is no one else there. The ghost stays inside the house, hovering above the floor, rubbing his translucent hands together the way my mother always did when she was worried.
Notice the people, half of them
Are searching for a place to hide
While the rest cry out, "Look at me."
And where are you, James?
Somewhere in between, looking up,
Watching the sun shine out
From behind that cloud.
To give thanks and praise is the thing. Be welcoming. Anyone can complain. Greet the people in your life with an embrace, and likewise, tell everyone goodbye with an embrace. Open your heart like you would open a window on a beautiful day. Let in the fresh air.
That I might let go of any judgement, it is so easy to judge. That I might learn to respond with kindness and forgiveness: to people, to life, and to myself.
—James Lee Jobe
Thank you, James Lee Jobe, for this morning’s fine offering, as we pass through this weekend of Thanksgiving.
Today at 2pm, Creative Minds spoken word gathering of artists of all kinds will meet at GOS Art Gallery , 1825 Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento. And a reminder that Poetry on Sunday meets in Turlock tomorrow, Dec. 1, featuring Lee Herrick, Said Shlah, and Ash Young. This is an on-going series which is hosted by MoSt (Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center), which is very active with readings, contests, their annual Poetry Festival (this year it’s Feb. 1), and other events. See www.mostpoetry.org for details, including info about their Poetry Festival Contest —deadline to submit to that is Jan. 11.
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.
—Medusa, grateful for every bit of fresh air ~
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