Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sacramento. Very Late at Night. James Lee Jobe, reviewed by BL Kennedy
Sacramento. Very Late at Night.
James Lee Jobe
little m press
A Life, Maybe This One
On the Yuba River there is a pool that I love to visit,
lime green, pale, cool and deep, so beautiful
when lit by a golden summer sun. A slip of a trail
follows the river to this pool, through sweet pines
and Manzanita, bush lupine, wood fern, and poppies
that glow in the afternoon light. Woodpeckers hard at work,
darting lizard that lick the air with a hopeful attitude,
and the occasional skunk all come this way.
Walking slowly to the pool, I don’t even break a sweat.
There is no one else for miles. I strip down
and dive into a green, ghostly world all my own,
not even a fish is there to share it. I am without beginning
or end, timeless. I could leave this body if I so choose.
“I don’t even need to breathe,” I think, as kick
and paddle, and pull myself deeper and deeper.
The poetry from James Lee Jobe seems to be as direct as a clean game of 8 ball. Can’t explain what it is. I personally have known the poet since 1996. I’ve watched his growth and maturity in the art of the poetic voice. Of that voice, I can simply say that here, invoked, is a lush collection of dark and light images, of ghostly worlds that seem to leave the body looking for another voice. With these poems, I can feel the poet breathe. I can feel the poet pull my soul deeper and deeper into his.
The poems in this collection by little m press, are, simply put, nourishment for the brain, nourishment to awake you very late at night. To take a moonlight peep into the world as it happens, to name you in its chant of AWAKE! AWAKE! This is the wide world of a life lived at the very edge of night. Awake and feel the power of these words run up your thighs liked crazed monkeys. This is the work of James Lee Jobe, and this collection is hands down one of the finest chapbook collections that I have had the opportunity to encounter within the past year. And hey, man, at three bucks, where can you go wrong? I ask you with my heart wide open, where can you go wrong? So get off your ass and travel to the edge of this poet’s mind. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be surprised at the beauty you will find.