Saturday, June 01, 2019

The Tame and the Wild

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

Morning; pink-orange and glorious the sun rises above the Sierra Nevada, and casts new light down on the Sacramento Valley. Glorious. Perfect. Inhale the winter air and cast your gaze upwards, you are still alive and a new day begins.


A large, rather old-looking crow caws, and a wind sweeps through my valley. Not everyone gets to have that kind of power. Watching from my patio, I salute the crow, who caws again and flies away to rejoin the rest of the world.

I am tame, yet I am wild all the same. Think of me as you would think of a seedling tree in your front yard; you didn’t plant it, yet it grows there nonetheless. Will you uproot it or leave it to grow toward the sky, toward the sun, toward the moon? Life is about growth, and life is about about choices. Life is the tame and the wild sharing space together.


With compassion in one hand and kindness in the other, let me work.


What summer night is this? A heat that doesn't break at night binds us like stout rope to the coolness of these years together. You and I remain. Look up; do you see? Even the moon offers us his finest blessing.

Nights where the dead come to visit me in dreams, like rain on a river, like snow on snow. There was a time when they said my name, held me, told me their dreams. Now they are memories of memories, rain on a river. Snow on snow. Ghosts in dreams.


Mid-winter, and I miss sleeping with the windows open. Birdsong at first light. The first cars going by. The neighbor’s cat creeping out to my garden to crap in the raised bed, which looks, perhaps, like a giant litter box.

It was a stranger’s bed, and it was made out of stones and branches, but it was empty and you were tired—you slept there anyway. Forty days and nights passed before you woke up again, and when you did, you discovered that you had a new name and a new face.

You had walked a long way to get to that bed, across a valley that spelled fresh and clean, and the stranger who owned it was a woman fresh from a shower. She wanted you as much as you wanted her, and so you answered to whatever name she called you.

After making love, you are hungry, nearly starving. You ate the grapes, you ate the bread and hummus, and you licked your fingers clean one at a time. There was no clock. You did not know the time or where you were. What is the difference?

It was a stranger’s bed, and it was made out of stones and branches, and this time you were not alone. Still naked and bearing your touch and your seed, she lay down in the middle of the bed, and you climbed on to join her, circling around and around like a dog.

The sky is open above you and the earth is solid beneath your feet, are you being your true self? You are a human being living a life. Real. Own that life, fully.


Today’s LittleNip:

On the sidewalk past midnight, I wonder what this town would be like if we had monkeys.

—James Lee Jobe


Thank you, James Lee Jobe, for bringing your fine poems and photos to the Kitchen table today on this first day of June! Maybe as Poet Laureate, you should bring a few monkeys to Davis, just to see what that’s like…

—Medusa, celebrating another month of 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.