Saturday, June 30, 2018

Alligator Eyes

Cache Creek, Yolo County
—Poems and Photos by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA

Wasps, by the bucketful, cover my face like a mask. I have begun having dreams where I am someone else, not me at all. Once, I was an old man who loved a young girl the way a child loves Jesus. In another I was an angry gangster facing down the police. These are dreams that smell of meat, and taste of sadness and guilt. With my hands I rub the sound of them, sound that floats over the surface of a pond. I am not gentle. Strong images of courage, stupidity, and love wasted. Looking into a dirty mirror, I tell the wasps that their mask is beautiful, but is it really me speaking, or the reflection? 

It is your own death that you are watching 

Play ball in the street. 

It is your own death drizzling raindrops on the windshield 

And driving to work on your day off. 

You have been working on this jigsaw puzzle for years, 

And you're tired now. 

Answers? They are the debris on your shore. 

There you are, watching your own death. 

The dogs biting you are your own death. 

And that telephone ringing? 

What do you think? That's right. 

It is your own death all over again. 

Just sit there and close your eyes. 

Eventually some idiot will tell you 

To move toward the light.

I am dreaming that George Clooney leaves the hoof prints of a horse as he walks. He sings to a pretty French girl, and then he actually becomes a horse. A handsome horse. I form a commune with several former co-workers and the sky becomes a mirror to reflect all life on earth. It’s complicated, this dream, and I can't remember a lot of things. There were long passages written and spoken in Farsi. People with shovel-heads dug long trenches. I sang them the Clooney song, and yelled to the great mirror in the sky, "This is a dream! I am the reflection of you!" 

I am lost in the ugliness of humanity again. 

The richer humans are eating the flesh 

Of the poorer ones, the weak ones. 

The rich peel the poor like bananas. 

They suck the bones clean and then purr 

Like contented cats. 

Cruel? Yes, and that is no coincidence. 

Everything cruel is on a compact disc 

So the government can watch on a computer. 

All of our names are written down somewhere. 

Not somewhere nice. 

This is repugnant to me. 

The ugliness of humanity is now a map for the hideous. 

They trace their favorite roads from a map 

With a pencil that they stole from a blind man. 

I have no map, and so I am lost most of the time. 

That's alright, though; I prefer it that way. 

I have nowhere special to be.

Alligator eyes in the bayou watch you pray to Jesus, and the murky green water has a rhythm that you smack out with blistered hands on a goat-skin drum. Something you can't quite see slithers past you in the water. Clouds cover the moon and the air is hot and still. The pines part like a bad haircut and then the angry god appears. Not Jesus. Some sins can't be atoned. Some shit you just have to live with. The water becomes still again. The alligator is patient. He’ll wait for you a long time if that's how it goes. 


This body is tired now and wants to rest

Like a bear rests in the deepest corner of winter. 

I want the sleep of the world, 

And I need those soft dreams of fur. 

I am setting down the wormy apple 

And the snake that desires everything. 

The prayer bell is ringing 

And the hour is sharp and clear. 

Will I wake up again one day? 

Does it matter? I am weary, 

Aching in my bones, and I cannot now say 

If my memories of rest are real or false. 

The corner of winter. 

The sleep of the world. 

The snake of desire. 

Who am I even talking to now? 


Today’s LittleNip:

This life is a circle, your lips in a kiss.
Now I am moving around and around
In love and in life. Together with you.

—James Lee Jobe


Thanks to James Lee Jobe for today’s fine poems and his photos of Cache Creek. A get-well-soon note to James Lee, who has been feeling poorly of late.

Another note, this one about Taylor Graham, for whom today marks the last day of her two-year El Dorado County Poet Laureateship. Taylor has been a very active PL, traveling all around the county for readings, composing poems for county events, and otherwise representing poetry in her county. A big thank-you to her from poets everywhere for spreading the Poetry Word, and for providing an example of what a Poet Laureate should be. El Dorado County's new PL will be Suzanne Roberts of South Lake Tahoe.

Straight Out Scribes’ family art exhibit, Legacy, will hold a closing reception tonight at 6:30pm at Sac. Poetry Center. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 Watching you...
—Anonymous Photo
Celebrate the poetry of the night!

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