—Michael Marrotti, Pittsburg, PA
Out to make
If all it took
I see you
naked heart in solitude, wordless, empty of deeds, devoid of fear, devoid of hatred. invisible in the garden of the soul, invisible to night rain that drops from heaven like monkeys scampering down from the sacred trees. yes, on the sharp slice of the pine woods the waiting was long and hard. wind and storm. what dedication just to be still and empty, and fully present. and then the sound of someone walking slowly through the wet twigs and the fallen leaves. go ahead, say the names of god out loud. one at a time. say them over again.
—james lee jobe, davis, ca
there it is, the star of you and me. look, my wife, at how tired that little star seems. far away, it winks at us so weakly on this cold, windy night. like us, it needs some rest. and although it is tired and getting older, like us, it still manages to shine a little. like the light from the two of us.
—james lee jobe
the day passed like the old man who died in his ragged gray underwear. no one was watching. yesterday's chicken was reheated for dinner. and no one was there to speak to the old man, so the meal was silent. bland chicken and bland peas. then the sun slipped down and slowly the room grew dark. that happens a tiny bit at a time, like old age creeping in. he did not reach for the light switch. he closed his eyes, put his head down on the table, and let out one long and final breath. then it was night, and the day had passed like the old man who died in his ragged gray underwear. who knows now what was in his heart? no one knows that.
—james lee jobe
we stop to look upon the corpse in the snow. blue skin and an open mouth. open eyes. moonlight across the frozen face. moonlight that plays a soft music that entertains the snow. and we say a prayer for soul of the deceased. and we say a prayer for the ones who grieve. and we say a prayer for ourselves, for our lives. we stop to look upon the corpse in the snow. and around us gather the ghosts of many others who died alone, without even their names. we stop. we speak the words. and we move on. but before we move on, we cover the body with snow, using our cold and wet hands like shovels.
—james lee jobe
in her eyes, a field of wheat. and in her heart, the head waters of the yangtze river. wheat and river. her hands can be as strong as iron, or as gentle as the birthday wish of a child. often, when she tells me some long story that doesn't seem to have an end, i float downstream, past the wheat, past the iron forges, and past the birthday parties where the children run and laugh. her heart, her eyes, and her hands, my friend, are here with me. wheat and river. here.
—james lee jobe
JACK THE CROW
—J.D. DeHart, Chattanooga, TN
My father used to have a talking
crow named Jack; at least, that’s
what he told me.
Maybe that’s why I have an affinity
with black birds, “The Raven” being
a favorite read.
He used to tell me many fragments
of evidence about him in his quiet
voice. How he used to raise chickens,
used to walk to the store,
always owned a wristwatch.
He taught me how to fire a gun and tried
to teach me how to change oil, but it
I dream sometimes about his talking
crow, perched on our mantle,
telling me secrets I cannot hear.
The way she says rubbish,
it makes you believe that rubbish
wears a long robe and recites
Latin, that rubbish owns a yacht,
ceramic busts of famous thinkers,
and rests between marble pillars
while discussing Spinoza and HBO.
Rubbish has read all the latest
authors I have never heard of,
attends readings, is fashionable,
so much better than trash,
who simply loiters about, begging
for change, spitting on the sidewalk.
He is now climbing the tree, tasting
the sky, and now edging sideways
out onto the slick rock, held up only
by a single twig, asking about origins
of waterfalls, and now reading
about Dresden, now reciting Lilith myths,
now standing, clapping, pontificating
measuring the content of young minds,
lapping the stream of consciousness
like a well-dressed canine.
They can be observed, suspended in air
for miles around, the tiny figures
dancing across a wire, poised between
the bulbous royal blue spheres
(a man told me once how he moved on
from the loss of his wife by writing
her name on a balloon and letting it go)
All is fine and well for walkers until
a sheer wind rose through, the barest
turn and, seconds later, chutes opened
skydancers dropping to some safety.
It was early morning
when he noticed the translucent
bubble, the swimming ink inside,
and by lunch, the size had increased,
the sense of hope and light
giving way to an unfortunate shadow,
his fuse a little shorter,
a resisting but ultimately yielding
Our thanks to our Master Chefs in the Kitchen today: two from far away and two from close by. James Lee Jobe is working with prose poems right now; Cynthia Linville sends us cameras-full of photos today; and J.D. DeHart pops in from Chattanooga every so often.
New to the Kitchen is Michael Marrotti, an author from Pittsburgh who says he is “using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work, please check out his blog at www.thoughtsofapoeticmind.blogspot.com for his latest poetry and short stories.” Welcome to the Kitchen, Michael, and don’t be a stranger!
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