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James Lee Jobe



black olives


so you see her there, somewhere, anywhere,


and you know that it is her. the black olives


of her eyes are whispering little things


that even she doesn't hear, only you.


and inside your soul, the bulls are running wild


through the streets and the imam


is giving the call to prayer. what can you say


to her? what can you do? and already


the curves of her dress are moving toward


the street, taking her away from you, back


to that life she already has without you.


your mind is blank, you have nothing,


and not knowing what words will fall


from your stupid lips, you reach out


and touch her shoulder lightly, and even


that slight touch is a gift from heaven,


and she turns to you with a question


in the lovely black olives of her eyes,


and you, you damn fool, you begin to speak.

since the funeral


the dust of the desert. in the mouth.


the eyes.


a dry wind to eat the heart while it still beats.


for what it lacks.


walking. the sky full of stars.


the stomach twisted from need and loss.


the ache of an empty life.


one foot goes in front of the other.


a step at a time. this desert goes on and on.


the night passes one second at a time.


tell me, angel, what of tomorrow?


tomorrow will be the same, james, inshallah.

wake now, morning has returned


wake now, morning has returned, which delights the night.


the deep silver of polished light. bees, in their silence.


the gentle feather ruffle of bird wing.


the sword that slices the darkness and stirs even the river.


the first brave smile of a new day,


the first naked kiss of the erect dawn.


crystals. diamonds. a glint of that gold not born of greed.


sunbeams past the cold, dark mountain,


the valley born again in the bright hope of renewal.


wake now, god is alive and calls to the trees.


wake now, the angels that watch over you are praying.


this is the hour of mindfulness,


embraced by the needs of our bodies and souls.


our time, birthed in faith, baptized in honesty.


wake now. rise with me again, life awaits us.


James Lee Jobe has been published in Manzanita, Tule Review, Pearl, and many other periodicals. His online publications include Convergence, Knot Magazine, Poetry 24, Medusa's Kitchen, and The Original Van Gogh Anthology. Jobe has authored five chapbooks, and his blog is PABLO, at He has lived in the Sacramento, California area for 25 years.

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