Saturday, May 19, 2018

Still Life

Still Life With Dentures and Glasses
—Poems and Photos by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA

The lizard is quite brave, like Hannibal,
And he dashes out on the trail right in front of me,
Stops, and looks up at me.
He has stopped me in my tracks.
I drop down to my hands and knees,
And I bring my face very close to his.
He doesn't run. He just cocks his head
And looks back me, and so in this way
We regard one another. A man and a lizard
On a Sierra Nevada trail in the heat of the afternoon.
This is his world, and I grow weary of the encounter
Before he does, and so I stand, say goodbye,
And start walking back down to my own world.
And he dashes off, too,
Back to whatever it is that a lizard does.


Finally, it is quiet.
You can hear the sound
Of your bare feet in the grass.
You can hear your breath
And feel your heartbeat,
But more, you hear
The sound of your own life.
Your soul makes no sound at all,
But you listen for it anyway.
Your body is alive,
And tells you so.
It is night, and looking up,
You see that the moon and the stars
Are quiet, too, shining silently
On the green branches of the pines. 

 Still Life With Coffee

You were a beautiful animal,
And you had been running across an overgrown field.
Your muscles turned like a ceiling fan while you ran,
And this patted down the sound of being alive.
I told you that today was Ho Chi Minh's birthday,
And I served you coffee, Vietnamese style;
It slowly dripped onto the condensed cream.
Coffee is a friend with a golden soul and a hand to hold.
It was a beautiful day in May, cool, and the air was clean.
As we sipped the coffee I watched your long paws;
One of them was scratching at the ground.
If I concentrate now I can still hear that scratching sound.
Then you ran again, finally disappearing from sight
When you cleared a rise at the far side of the field.

 Still Life With Messy Desk

Death is king in the world of men.

There are many fountains that flow with wine,

But you must sacrifice a finger every time you drink.

There is great wealth to be had,

But only if you learn to smile

When another child is tossed into the fire.

And friend, that fire is always burning.

In the world of men there is a Senate also,

And the Senators have shotguns, crossbows,

And automatic rifles. The good news is

They will give you a little bit of a head start.

The bad news is, you can't escape the hunt.

Not ever. You see,

In the world of men we are all hunted.

In the world of men we are all prey.

Death is king here, and by god,

Don't you ever forget it. 

 Still Life With Old Work Boots

We are defeated.
From over the ocean the warplanes return
Like dragonflies flying over a fishpond.
The stars above them hum and whisper in diamond light.
The world is a whirlpool of churning thought.
We are defeated, indeed, both sides are defeated.
No one really wins a war.
The graves of the innocent villagers are shallow and hard.
The broken arm of the night will not mend,
And the soldiers know this.
Some of the soldiers sleep in sleek caskets.
We should bury them together, two to a grave.
One American, one Afghani.
They could rest forever in each others arms.


Today’s LittleNip:

All life is sacred, all of creation;
May we live in reverence.

—James Lee Jobe


Many thanks to James Lee Jobe for today’s fine poems and photos! On Sunday from 2-3pm, James will be hosting the new Davis Art Center Poetry Series, featuring Traci Gourdine and William O’Daly, Davis Art Center on F Sts. in Davis.

Also on Sunday, Lara Gularte will host Poetry in Placerville, featuring Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas plus open mic, 1-3pm at Love Birds Coffee and Tea Co. on Broadway in Placerville.

But today is also a busy day, beginning at 9:30am with Writers on the Air, featuring Victoria Blanco and Jesse Dewhurst plus open mic at Sac. Poetry Center. Later today, there will be the Book Release Party for Cold River Press’s new
Order of Events by D.R. Wagner (artwork by Brock Alexander), 6-8pm on Key Street in Locke. Also today: Straight Out Scribes will be M.C.’ing and reading at the first ever Uptown Art Fest at Robert’s Family Community Development Center in Sacramento, 5-8pm, including music by Shawn Raiford Experience. 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, with apologies for today's post being late. I saved it as a draft by mistake...

 —Anonymous Photo
Celebrate the poetry of connections!

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