Saturday, February 08, 2020

A Roll of the Dice

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

Well after midnight. A faint smell of skunk from somewhere in the distance, borne on a light wind. From the park across the street I hear the familiar sound of the owl that lives there. Isn’t that sweet? The wild can come to us anywhere, even in my city. Two nights past the full moon.


A bird sings. A lion hunts. The earth, the solar system, the universe— they're all in constant motion. If you are looking for your path in life, you begin by walking.

Tell me what I wish to know.

Tell me how the savage flowers ate the air, and the soil, and the sun.

Tell me if these flowers will now cover the earth with violence or with grace.

And tell me why the world spins one way but not the other, and why the flowers have grown long legs like people, and stalk through the cities where the dead have been left untended on the broken streets, left there by cruelty and unending war.

Hear me, these truths are my desire.

I want to open my heart to the passing of the moon through his monthly stages and I want to learn to love the sun as she blesses our lives with light.

I want to open my mind to the knowledge of kindness.

And friend, more than my desire is my need.

I need to become a better man than the one I have been.

Tell me again of the savagery of the flowers.

Tell me again of an earth covered with stems and blooms calling for the return of the bees.

Tell me what I wish to know.

I want to open my heart and leave it so.

—for William O'Daly—

I was sleeping in the recliner chair like my Uncle Richard used to do. I slept heavily and dreamed of words that were made from solid objects of various shapes and sizes, and of many different materials. Words built from metal, wood, concrete, plastic, and so on. I was using tools to assemble these words into poems; a hammer and nails, a handsaw, a drill, nuts and bolts, a sander, and wrenches. The poems I built were as large as a man and crazy looking, but they read beautifully. The poems I built were better than any I ever wrote, but that isn't saying much.


Kindness doesn’t need to deceive anyone, and deception isn’t kind. Move through this day with your heart and your eyes open. Move through the light with the blessings of the light. There is no other day, no other moment.

Sister, the time has come.

I need to lay down this body

And sleep.

Life orbits

Around the sun with the earth,

And our solar system is moving through the galaxy;

What we have, we take on faith.

All of it, every moment, is a roll of the dice,

A cut of the deck.

We control nothing,

And so we control everything.

We control our own choices, and Sister,

Just now I choose to sleep.


Today’s LittleNip:

Rising before dawn, I walk the moon home. Keeping an eye on the sky.

—James Lee Jobe


A good February morning from James Lee Jobe to you, as we end another week with some of his thoughtful poetry! Tonight, Sojourna Jennings will read at 6pm at Acheson Wine Co., 1629 19th St. in Sacramento. Also tonight, drop by the Sac. Poetry Center for Second Saturday Reception at the SPC Gallery from 5-8pm. This month will feature a photography exhibit by Frank Dixon Graham, entitled “Sidekicks: A Collection of Alter Egos”. That’s on 25th and R Streets in Sacramento.

Then tonight at 7pm, Brickhouse Poetry 2nd Saturdays features BeeReal at the Brickhouse Gallery, 2837 36th St. in Sac. 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, keeping an eye on the sky ~

 —Anonymous Photo Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

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.