Saturday, March 21, 2020

What's Next?

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

Early morning, my wife is still sleeping. From the park across the street I can hear a crow yelling. It is as if it is saying, in a mocking tone, “Ha! I can fly and you can’t!” Smiling, I realize all that is in my head, not the crow’s head. For all I know the crow might be praising this beautiful sunrise. For all I know, a crow might have perfect Buddha-mind, and just be existing in the moment. May the crow be safe. May he know peace.

Obsequious; I am dreaming, and I need to use the word 'obsequious' in a sentence, only I am not sure of the definition. A dream can be like that. Some mad need that leads to a ridiculous adventure, sometimes fun, but sometimes tense or even frightening.

So I find myself traveling, looking for a dictionary or someone with a larger vocabulary than myself. The landscape is varied, sometimes it is a busy city, sometimes a lovely countryside.

And then the dream changes, as they often do, and I am touring Unitarian churches in Egypt, then riding a train where the porters wear white jackets and tams. I have tea with some British senior citizens, and then wine with a beautiful woman whose accent I can't quite place.

Another change, and I arrive in Baltimore, it is 1941 and war is upon us. The shipyard is busy and I am offered a job with a union. The boss sends an assistant to fetch us coffee, and as we wait he whispers to me, "That will give the obsequious little turd something to do for a while."

There is nothing that I feel the need to prove, not one thing, and I have no one to prove it to anyway. There is just the next thing that happens. And I can live with that.


Grandchild. She's only just new, even crawling is yet a ways off, and so she wins me by just being herself. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a flash of a smile. Here. Now. In this family.


Late. A naked moon. Listen. In the distance, a long howl, the call of a wolf, like in some old black-and-white western movie. Or maybe it was the little poodle next door, that part doesn't matter, it's the howl itself that counts. At various times in this long, tangled web of existence we need a naked moon and a long, mournful howl. Go ahead. Just let go. Drop your clothes in the street and run for it. Howl until your throat is raw. None of us truly knows what happens next.

Frozen midnight with a chilled wind, 
Blown here from the moon, 
White and bitter cold. 
And around us? 
The sad eyes of the night. 
The valley is still and quiet, 
And there is a dull glow of light around the city. 
We nightly ease toward midnight, 
One frozen second at a time.

You are an outline in the water, or ash, picked up by the valley winds. And your life has come down to the days of the truth. Is the world impressed? You no longer care. Now, in the far corners of living here, you know yourself at last. In a quiet moment, you touch your face. Weathered? Perhaps. But even after all of this, it is indeed still you. 


Given that the river blesses this valley,
Given that the valley embraces the river,
Given that the wilds of the sky blanket the great everything
What fortune now awaits our lives and our loves?
We'll see tomorrow.
Another day to live and love.

And perhaps then yet another.

The measure of a good person is in kindness and love;
Should our leaders, our government be any different?
When you meet someone new, do you say,
“Where were you born? Where were your parents born?
Do you have the proper identification?”

No. You offer your hand and say,
“How do you do? Nice to meet you.”
Should our leaders, our government be any different?
No. They shouldn't.
Let the kindness of one person
Be the kindness of The One.
Let the kindness of leadership
Be the kindness of The One.
The measure of a good person is in kindness and love;
And the measure of leadership should also be
In kindness
And love.


Today’s LittleNip:

Beautiful, the frozen bay, but why miss it? Wherever I go I have the wind, the earth. The stark beauty of the sky.

—James Lee Jobe


Thank you, James Lee Jobe, for another Saturday full of sunshine and good faith! As he says, Be the kindness of the One.

Gail Entrekin, Bay Area Editor of
Canary, a Literary Journal of the Environment Crisis, sends a link to the newest issue (, and writes the following: “Well, this is a very strange Spring for the world's citizenry and for each of us as we struggle to cope with fear, confusion, isolation, and coming down from our usual hectic schedules to a flat plain of peace and acceptance. I wish you well on this journey.  

“Please be sure to read the little snippet of good news in the box at the top of this issue of Canary. Remember to enjoy your (or another) garden, plant something in a pot or otherwise, hike alone on your favorite trail, sit outside in a warm coat and lose yourself in the bright or foggy air. We don't have to stay inside. Just away from each other. 

“Read poems. Write something. Video chat with loved ones too, to attend to your social needs. I'm sending each of you, along with the Spring Equinox issue of
Canary linked below, my very best wishes for your health and peace of mind. We are all connected.” For the newest Canary, see, and check out the little chartreuse box there about how the coronavirus is, at least temporarily, improving the environment.

Thanks, Gail, for a nurturing message in these wacky times!

Although poets consider poetry and poetry readings to be essential, I am assuming that all poetry events in our area are cancelled due to "Shelter in Place". Most events have gone on hiatus until at least April 7, which is when the current Shelter ends (we'll see what happens then). Meanwhile, read, write, rest, review, and take care of yourself!

The good news is that some Virtual Open Mics are springing up, such as one from Nomadic Press on March 27, 6-7:30pm. Info/sign-up:



 “We are all connected.” —Gail Entrekin


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