Saturday, February 02, 2019

It Could've Been Worse

The Poet, 1978
—Poems by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

Friend, these are challenging times.
I wonder how those people who don't write poetry
Manage to get through it?
If you want the whole truth,
I don't understand those people at all.
Why do they bother?
Your body isn't the only thing that needs nourishment.
Your body is a house, and the person living in that house
Needs the kind of nourishment you get
From poetry, art, and music.

 The Poet and Wife, 1996

Between the rich and the poor,
Between the white and the people of color,
What really ever changes?
Only the names of the humiliated,
The names of the dead.
The size of the population suffering.
The Samsara of profit and hate.
How do we break free?
With sharing the world, with love.
With kindness. Open arms
Instead of a fist and a gun and a jail.

 The Poet and Wife, 1997

What day is today? The summer heat
Binds me down like heavy rope.
Above this, the sky is a cooler blue,
And below, the earth is baked hard.
Through this, our love moves,
Traveling back and forth as always.
My lips on your neck taste the sweat.

The Poet & Cousin Joan Jobe Smith, 1996

It could have been worse.
I might have spent my life
At some factory job, making hammers.
It would have been a steady paycheck,
But I prefer the wind on my face,
Watching the tree limbs blow,
And telling funny stories to my wife.
So I win.

 The Poet and Gary Snyder, Early 2000's

Friend, leave the unnameable be.
Not everything there is needs a name.
Friend, leave the unnameable be.
We needn’t define all of life and death
And the entire universe.
It’s alright to sometimes just smile
And watch.

 The Poet, 2005, at The Book Collector

Join me. Cast off your bowline
And sail your boat with mine,
Away from living in the Past.
I never was much for nostalgia


Today’s LittleNip:

There must have been times when you opened up your heart and there, waiting, was your life.

—James Lee Jobe


Many thanks to James Lee Jobe for his fine poems today and his tell-all photos about his visual chronology! (Remember the many readings at The Book Collector?)

Back to the present: The Modesto Poetry Festival takes place today at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Modesto, 9:30am-4pm. And tonight, 9-11:30pm, Word Candy happens in Elk Grove. 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 (Celebrate Poetry!)


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.