eating the local mosquitoes

 When you sit, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. 

Ajahn Chah

I dip my toes in the river where no one ever swims.

The water is cold, and I jump in anyway.

I pull a strength up into me from a place far below

And I walk across the fires of the maddened sky.

I do not die. Not yet.

The mauls of life pound me down

And I stand again anyway.

We all own that, but only if we claim it.

I turn away from the face of evil and so become free.

There is no hell, the devils live inside of us.

Cast them out.

Let the beasts come and let the earth quiver.

Whatever is next, I can face.

I do not give a damn for consequence.

I do not give a damn if I now fail.

I have already done everything that I came here to do.

James Lee Jobe 

The cry of the poor is is not always just, but if you
don't listen to it, you will never know what justice is.

Howard Zinn

In every world, there are other worlds, hidden worlds,

And in every person are many other people.

Should we question them? No.

We should bathe them in those secret streams

That flow with golden water.

We should sail with them through one of a million skies.

After all, who will stand forth and command today?

And in which world will we choose to spend

The most quiet and delicious dreams of our lives? 

James Lee Jobe 

It's always just beginning.  Everything is always just beginning.  

Jakusho Kwong

Dusk, and the bats fly out from under the causeway on Interstate 80. 250,000 strong, they've been sleeping all day in the shade, upside down, with cars and trucks passing just above them. How do they sleep through that? Our dusk is their dawn, our evening is their morning. Tonight while the people sleep, the bats will be eating the local mosquitoes. Good for them. 

Dawn, and I rise to start the coffee and open the house up to the fresh air of a summer morning. My wife sleeps on for a couple of hours. Good for her. They say you dream more right before you wake up. Yesterday I leaned in close while she slept on and I softly whispered, "bats," right in her ear. it was just about the time the bats would be returning home to sleep. Some of the mothers will hold their young all day, folded up in their wings. 

James Lee Jobe

The beauty of things must be that they end.

Jack Kerouac 

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face the end of it all with a glib remark

"What is poetry which does not save nations or people?"

Czeslaw Milosz

Erica Hopper

Chew the eyes slowly. You have lined up the eyes of six cats on a plate, and you have in your hand a spoon made of the finest silver. The room is new to you; before this, your father never let you in here. You, who have wintered in the dark and summered in the warm light. This is your Chernobyl, your Dachau. Shame and denial are twin births in family after family. The honey is all gone now, eaten by the barbarians, armed with rifles. Here, the bees serve an evil queen. Here, the hive speaks an imperfect English. A chill, born of fear, not temperature, fills the silent room. What can you do? You push the eyes onto the spoon with one of your dirty fingers, and you lift it to your mouth and eat.


Death is knocking at the door.

Please, let him in.

I wasn't going to live forever anyway.

Death has always been waiting for me,

Like a poor man waiting at a bus stop.

Today, tomorrow; is there a difference?

I'm not sure what comes next, but whatever it is,

I would rather stroll in upright than cower and wait.

Face the end of it all with a glib remark.

A smirk.

Death is a hot iron, and friend,

This shirt is wrinkled. 


If you can, hide me.

Cut a door into the gray sky and lock me behind it.

Raise up the edge of the river and let me slip under

while no one is watching.

Hide me in trees, hide me in seas.

I will shave off this beard and change my name,

I will purchase a hat that hides my eyes and shadows my face

and sends a subconscious message to people on the street

to move away from me.

I want silence and solitude.

I want secrecy.

I am dangerous, I am ridiculous, I am nothing.


James Lee Jobe

a poem by Ada Limón, The Quiet Machine

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James Lee Jobe 


you'll need this when you grow up

“Poetry is life distilled.”

Gwendolyn Brooks

Toos van Holstein

flatlands of lovely sunrises and sunsets 
rich soil farmland 
300 miles long 
100 miles wide 
drained by 2 massive rivers  
the sacramento and the san joaquin 
and many smaller ones 
the rivers wash us clean 
and distance helps define us and time both 
california’s great central valley 
my home for over 35 years

hope is that small and quiet person 
who knocks at the door very lightly 
will you listen for the knock 
will you let hope in

I counted and numbered the blades of grass
across all of the fields of springtime

I inventoried the stars and divided the number
by thirteen for poetic reasons

I found out how many telephone poles there are
in yuba county california it wasn't so difficult

why did I do these things
for all the mathematics teachers I had as a boy

who lied and said "you'll need this when you grow up"
what horseshit

I tallied the sunrises since I was born,
nearly 25 thousand

I counted the lovers that I can remember
even though none of them matter but you

James Lee Jobe

Wes Montgomery - Here's That Rainy Day
London, 1965

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