Saturday, July 20, 2019

Seasons of My Life

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


I have never been a farmer, but farmland feels welcoming to me, a green field under a golden sun, or corn stalks under a full moon; these things are a blessing. Thirty years I have lived in this valley. The seasons of the year, the seasons of the crops; these are the seasons of my life. And that, too, is a blessing.


There are signs… if you look for them. Species of creatures dying out, a rising sea, a smaller arctic. A feeling of dread in the population, people moving on in fear and desperation. And the answer? It isn’t ‘better politics.' The answer is in our hearts, in our spirits. We need silence. We need emptiness. Friend, what we need is... less.

The rain gutters are full and rushing, and the water spouts are gushing like the overflow to a dam on a very full lake. The sky is darkest to the west, yet another storm is coming, a follow-up to this one; a hard right cross following a left jab. This fight could go on for hours.


I am allergic to many things. Grasses. Trees. Dust. Mold. Sociopaths. I am allergic to cruelty. Heartlessness. Greed. Some of these things make me sneeze, others make me want to vomit. In the news it is clear that America has concentration camps for Latinos without papers. People with their children taken from them, living caged, in some cases, forced to drink from toilets. Today I saw a pick-up truck with a large American flag fluttering from a small pole in the truck bed. That sick feeling returned to my stomach. Again.

The 1970s. San Francisco, Mission St, between 2nd St & 16th. Walking distance from both Greyhound and Trailways buses. Run-down diners with 2-egg breakfasts, no meat, for $1.25 or so. I could a rent the saddest room in the city for $25 a week. Messenger companies hiring. Cheap pot, cheap wine. Goodwill and Salvation Army 1 block over on Howard. 1-dollar movies on Market, 1 block the other way. Except for work, I could go for weeks without conversation. Weekends, a 25-cent streetcar ride to Ocean Beach. Poetry readings somewhere almost every night, sit in the back and scribble in my notebook. Smoking pot openly on the street, never a problem. Or spend all day in the stacks at the SF library reading books from 1910, forgotten poets. I had no past, no future, lived day to day. Lucky Strikes. Street-vendor hot dogs. Jack Spicer poems. That summertime layer of fog across the city and the Bay.

The dawn is beautiful, it gives us a place to enter the light. Likewise with the dusk and entering the darkness. In the balance of this cycle, we grow and love.


In the outer world, I suppose I am a poor man, but not in my world; in my world I am wealthy. I have my life, my family, and a home. People love me and I love them. Money is nothing. Life is everything.

Spring continues with more rain, the evergreen trees seem to shine as if they had been polished, perhaps by giant hands, and the oaks and the elms birth new buds. Everywhere I look, life continues. The winter chores I didn’t get to come to mind. I meant to trim the peach tree, and I meant to clear out some undergrowth. Instead, I was sick and wrote a lot of poems. But why beat myself up for that? Poetry outranks yard work; everyone knows that. I’ll let Mother Nature order the yard around.


Today’s LittleNip:

My bird is yelling at the dogs, and the dogs are barking at a cat; sunrise again. Good morning.

—James Lee Jobe


Our thanks to James Lee Jobe for today’s fine poetry and the photos of kindness he provided! Davis Poet Laureate James will be reading at the Davis Arts Center Poetry Series tomorrow, Sunday, at 2pm in Davis, 1414 F St. 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, celebrating poetry—and kindness!

 —Anonymous, Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

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