James Lee Jobe is an East Davis poet. In 1980 and 81 he studied with Andrei Codrescu at the University of Baltimore. He has taken workshops with poets like Susan Kelly-DeWitt and Robert Hass. From 1994 to 1999, Jobe was the editor and publisher of a Davis poetry monthly called One Dog Press. He also published a quarterly called Clan Of The Dog in 2001 and 2002. His poems have appeared in the anthologies; The Sacramento Anthology of 100 Poems, How to Be This Man-The Walter Pavlich Memorial Poetry Anthology, and Jewel of the Valley-A California Anthology. Jobe has been published in many magazines and periodicals including Illya's Honey, Manzanita, Poetry Now, Pearl, and the Tule Review. At 51, Jobe lives in Davis, California, with his wife Alexandra and 2 of their 3 children, where they are members of the Unitarian Universalist Church. He produces radio commercials in Sacramento. James is the father of Davis musician Will Jobe.
THINKING OF THE GIRL WITH BIG EARS
When the wind is strong you can hear the ocean
in her ears, and there's just a chance
she'll get airborne. At least there's always
And when she brushes her long hair
behind those tremendous lobes
it never comes back out again. Ever.
In fact, she lost her old glasses
Washing her ears requires a man
and a boy and a good thirty minutes. Ladders
and brushes are involved, and a permission slip
for the boy. His mother signed it
just before her breakdown.
Ears like this are a plea for attention, just ask
any circus elephant or Lyndon Johnson's ghost.
Sure, he signed the Civil Rights Act,
but he also knew the woes of having ears
that can provide shade for the village. Like Lyndon,
the big eared girl is a Democrat, but
her ears vote Independent.
Once I met the girl's huge ears in a truckstop
near Dallas. I was hitch-hiking to Maine,
but those massive ears were going West, seeking
new lands, new dreams. Some years later,
I would follow.
James Lee Jobe
Six days till Solstice, and in the news there is nothing about kindness;
The war machinery grinds away, lives in the balance teeter and shake,
And far away the soft river sand shifts under the weight of my hooves.
Ghandi walked forever and a day for salt; well, salt, yes, but something
Else, a lesson about kindness that danced over the heads of most,
The dry-haired masses only gathered to call out, "More! More!"
My cat killed many mice, it's true, but some she let go, ignored, just
Watched while they escaped like the flatulence of the terrified. She could
Easily have slain them all; perhaps she was just exercising some kindness.
My father-in-law is 103. At dinner, his hand shaking, he will reach across
The table with trembling chopsticks to pass someone a tidbit, tasty,
Something he knows is wonderful and gives away out of kindness.
Who are you now, James? Where are the dreams of so many years ago?
At Solstice the world changes; Summer, and the Sun grows weaker, more so
Everyday, and slowly the air cools in the wake of the Sun's kindness.
James Lee Jobe