—Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe
Sleep does not really live here.
It only visits.
And when this visit is over,
No matter how brief the stay,
I like to get up and go outside
And look at the sky.
The sky lives here.
I raise my arms in the darkness
To say hello.
Night in the valley,
As fresh as a first kiss.
We were born, and there was no hate in us.
Underneath, aren’t we all just dreamers?
Human beings with something in our spirit
That moves us? We need acceptance
After so many years of separation.
To be rejoined to the whole. My heart is tired;
Isn’t yours? If only governments and humans
Could share a kiss. A gentle touch.
There would be no detention camps, no walls.
Police wouldn’t come to the door at night
If we rose up bearing the kindness
With which we were born. There was no hate in us.
Person helping person, surely that is our nature.
Where we are born means nothing.
Where we would be is a matter of preference
And need. Let us be newborn again,
And embrace each other with open arms,
Let us know each other with open hearts.
I took a peek at my aging heart
And I found a farm inside of myself,
A farm that exists inside of my heart.
And looking across the rich fields
I saw that the crops were growing,
And that the harvest would be rich.
I felt a contentment within.
With a smile, I took a hoe
And entered a field to weed.
Have wrapped the red, white, and blue flag
Around their stumps and gone to bed.
They have been given Oxycontin and Jesus.
"Yes, you killed thousands, but God wishes it so
Because he loves America most of all."
They are told this when their night terrors come.
They are told this when the ghosts of their victims
Silently line up to caress the aching stumps.
They are told this when their children cry
And they must struggle just to cross the room
And comfort them.
Oxycontin and Jesus and America,
Arm in arm in arm,
At the head of the parade,
The frayed flags waving in the cool sunlight,
Smoking with human blood.
The slow and empty death of patriotism.
The pavement ends, but the road continues.
Hot summer sun. Ruts in the dirt,
Left there by wheels on the rainy days.
Holes and low spots. Keep going.
No breeze at all, no clouds.
The road ends at a trail head.
A path through tall, dead weeds.
Walk. You are alone in the silence.
Not even the sound of one bird.
The path fades away. The weeds fade away.
Finally you are beneath an empty sky
That seems as wide as creation.
The world seems bleached, and begins to fade,
And the sky fades as well.
And then you begin to fade away, too.
Only the light remains.
Only the light.
Of course, the light is music.
You already know that.
The sun, the moon, and the stars.
The rivers and seas.
The mountains and valleys.
Lovely music, that.
But friend, I tell you
That the darkness is music as well.
The shadow side of being alive.
The drunken, angry father is music,
Even as he berates the shrunken wife
And ruins the children.
The lies of the politicians are music.
The sound of shots being fired in the night
And you cannot tell how far away.
Or how close.
The earthquake, the killer tornado,
The car crash, the unsuccessful operation.
It's all a balance, all of it,
And one song plays after another,
Like a concert with no program to follow.
So pay attention to the music,
It could very easily be a short concert.
One never knows.
From falsehood, may I find truth. From despair, may I find hope. From hate, may I find love. From death, may I find life. From the darkness, may I find the light. For these things I pray.
—James Lee Jobe
Thanks on this Saturday morning to James Lee Jobe for speaking to us of the light and hope and the music of balance. Next Friday, James will host The Other Voice in Davis, featuring Charles Halsted and open mic at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Patwin Rd. in Davis, 7:30pm.
Today, from 5-8pm, Sac. Poetry Center Gallery at 25th & R Sts. in Sacramento opens its November exhibit, “Passing Through”, with art by Carole Forest as well as ekphrastic writing, refreshments, and a reading at 7pm by Carole. And tonight from 7-10pm, BrickHouse Poets at the BrickHouse Gallery on 35th St. in Sacramento will feature Twosense. 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, celebrating the poetry of darkness ~