James Lee Jobe
Jerusalem - Poem by James Lee Jobe
My loneliness for Jerusalem is the stone wall
that holds me down, the barbed-wire fence
of my nameless grief, salty tears
to be dealt with by a later generation,
our justice meted out upon them,
their doom, their pride, lean, alone, cold.
This need for Jerusalem fills my worn shoes
on the meanest morning of hard winter, biting,
on the softest night of easy summer, kissing,
fills my work with a hope of meaning, pouring,
fills my cupped hands with something sticky
and sweet like honey, but it is not honey,
and it could never fill these hands, look at them.
When I get to Jerusalem I will walk slow
the wind of ancient stone, the heartbeat
of the old quarter, a fool, and devil-eyed goats
will speak my true name in forgotten tongues,
fathers whose sons are spent with war
will turn away, mothers will not look on me,
Jerusalem is that beautiful lover I never loved,
that icy lover who also never loved me.
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