Monthly Archives: March 2016

March poems

Three new poems for March. Zooey goodbye is about the death of our beloved dog – it was hard, took me the month. If we don’t write things down, they quick slip away. Then there’s a food poem, and a poem about waiting for the rains to begin once again.

But first, a special offer. If you would post a review of any or all of my books on Amazon, I’ll send you a free review copy in any of three file formats: pdf, mobi (for Kindle), or epub (for Ipad or other readers). If you’d like a free review copy, please let me know by email, jpjust48@gmail.com

All three of my books are now available at CreateSpace in paperback, and at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

BookCoverImage

Meanders: a poem

CreateSpace store, Amazon, Kindle

Forty years in the writing, James Just’s poem Meanders takes us on a journey of the heart and spirit. Through Northern California and Oregon, Europe and Central America, we share the adventure of the path to becoming human.

Meanders is Just’s third book of poetry, following A Year of Days and Sketches of Poás.

The cover painting is Der Fuhrmann II, (The Carter), Helmut Lortz, 1946, oil on wood. The cover was designed by artist Gesa Emde. Artist Gesa Emde provided the cover art and illustrations for A Year of Days, and Sketches of Poás. Emde lives and paints in a village in the Vosges Mountains in France, where she and her husband operate the art center Pas de Deux, http://www.gem-design.de

 

BookCoverImageSketches of Poás: Poems by James Just, Illustrated by Gesa Emde

CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle

Sketches of Poás follows James Just’s first book of poems, A Year of Days. Sketches of Poás is a collection of whimsical poems about the community living on the slopes of Vulcán Poás – birds, reptiles, insects, dogs, humans too, all sharing a magical place of coffee fields and forest, wind and rain, sun and stars, in tropical Costa Rica.

Artist Gesa Emde provided the cover art and illustrations for A Year of Days, and now has created the cover rendering of Vulcán Poás and illustrations to accompany each of the poems in Sketches of Poás. Emde lives and paints in a village in the Vosges Mountains in France, where she and her husband operate the art center Pas de Deux.

BookCoverImage

A Year of Days: poems
Illustrations by Gesa Emde

Through this evocative collection of poems we spend a year with poet James Just, his wife Irina and their two dogs in the mountains of Costa Rica. We feel fresh rhythms of sun and rain and wind. We discover exotic plants and animals. We connect with fellow adventurers from all over the world. We meet Tico friends, patient and generous with outlanders bringing strange customs and a foreign tongue. We sample local foods and savor an enchanting culture. We learn to relax and relish la pura vida.
The cover art and interior illustrations are by artist Gesa Emde. Ms. Emde lives and paints in the Vosges Mountains in France, where she and her husband operate the art center Pas de Deux.

CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle


Zooey goodbye

1. A day in the life

With light rising
at the foot of the bed
whap of a tail
not moving her head
smiling brown eyes.

Making morning coffee
checking the weather
muzzle at open door
Capo snuggled in his pile
of pillows on the bed.

At the desk in the study
all through the morning
on the floor at feet
rising to pace about
waiting out the fidgets.

Lunch time she sits
first at the butcher block
a bite then at the bar
her station on the right
shares of salchicón.

Dusk family hour
at the cupboard door
biscuits and bacon strips
Capo’s carried off
Zooey’s gone in a gulp.

Dinner at the table
always underneath
tablecloth draped
muzzle a black nose
poking the crotch.

What time is it?
the nightly refrain
to bed, she rises
throws her head
beating out ruffs . . .

. . . as ruffed the young girl
belly deep in the pond
eyes bright paws slapping
left and right water
braided bright jewels.

Through the night
three times at least
sharp bark at the door
let me out let me in
each time take a piss.

2. The prognosis

We take Zooey to see Doc Oscar, she’s been coughing and hacking for several weeks. Probably the throat irritated, he says, see this a lot this time of the year, dry air, dust and smoke. Gives her an anti-inflammatory shot and some pills, she seems better the next days, but next week she’s worse again, take her back. Let’s take some ex-rays, he says, but my machine is broken, leave her. He drives her all the way to La Guácima, and back later that afternoon, the film showing what could be a heart looking enlarged. Not pumping strong enough to clear out the lungs, he suggests, it happens to dogs grown old. Gives us some pills for her heart and lungs, to help clear clear them of fluid.

Cheryl up the hill has an old coughing dog too, been taking him to a heart specialist, offers Zooey come along to her appointment. Cheryl drives, her dog Cooper in front, Zooey and her human together in back, the pista to the airport, the exit to Heredia, stop and go through the old town, the dog cardiologist’s office.

The doctor examines her, hooks her up to an imaging machine. There’s nothing wrong with her heart. But look, he says pointing. See that? That’s a tumor in the lining of the heart. And there, more, the lungs dotted all through.

The vet’s I’m sorry stuns, though we all know life isn’t forever. A shock to be confronted with an end now near.

3. The end

Zooey can’t get up to go outside to pee, lies in a puddle. Late in the morning, wobbles off to lie herself down beneath the big philodendron, where she has hollowed out a shelter in the cool dirt, secreted in shadows of palm grass.

It’s time, whispers Irina, calls Doc Oscar. He’ll come that afternoon.

Oscar’s pickup rolls down the drive, turns through the gate. Capo barking, Zooey drags herself out, feebly joins in, then sits on the lawn.

Come on girl, let’s lie down in the green, in the cool. She comes without question to her place where she feels safe, trusting as when she jumped in the car to go not knowing where with someone not knowing who, to a life on a farm. Never again getting into a car until we load her up, drive her in the middle of the night to an empty parking lot in the big city, a stranger’s truck. She leaps blindly, boost her up and in, the beginning of her journey to a new life on a coffee finca in Costa Rica.

I crawl with her into her hollow, lie spooning her back, her head resting on my arm, fingers softly stroking her muzzle. Oscar carefully inserts the needle in her left arm, eases the plunger. Her muscles relax, her breath slows, stops. An instant she’s here, the next gone, leaving naught but limp flesh.

Tears
trickle the cheeks
moisten the lips
taste of salt.

Early next morning Juan Carlos comes to help with the burial. We lay a black sheet over the wheelbarrow, lift her body gently, wrap the shroud. Carry her down to a point of land can be seen, standing, from the veranda, with a view of the coffee where she innocently stuck her nose at a porcupine. A pick and two shovels, a rectangular hole, deep from the buzzards, settle her in easy, head pointing north, toward Poás.

When the rains start we’ll plant by her grave an orchid tree, for the flowers and the shade.

The ache
for nights
of dreams
interrupted.

Fast food

A dinner planned
first of the week
first of the month.
Needing to transfer
funds to pay bills
can’t log on.
A trip to town
sit at the bank
figure out why
could take hours.

After lunch blanch
red ripe tomatoes
twenty seconds
boiling water
slip off the skins
thumb out seeds
set in a bowl.
Olive oil heated
a healthy splash
a thick bottomed pot
chopped onions sauté
until translucent
garlic smashed
free of skin
handful of flour
stir a few minutes
a wooden spoon
white wine a big splash
add the tomatoes
bring to a simmer
turn off and leave.

Return from the bank
almost four afternoon
turn sauce back on
return to simmer
half hour or so
puree coarsely in the pot
an old Moulinex
relic of Europe
add mushrooms browned
olives left over.

Early that morning Irina
made a ball of dough
hard flour and duck eggs
(‘cause that’s what we’ve got).
Rolling the dough out
Paul and Marilyn walk in
and Nancy too with
pretty black lab pup.
Cut and hang noodles
sip Cacique and tonic.
On the parilla
a coil of chorizo
(sort of Italian
fennel seed, chili flakes).
Pot boil fettuccine
just a few seconds.

A fork of fresh pasta
a ladle of sauce
a chunk of sausage
(Marilyn’s not eating meat
but she takes a bite
then a bit more)
a glass of Tempranillo
easy talking the evening
around the table.

Downpours of the coffee planters

Christmas day eve
since, sun and wind
nor one drop rain
squeezed from the sky.

Aguaceros
de los cafetaleros
weather service predicts
moisture from Pacific
drifting in most years
‘round ides of March.

Wait the long day
skies still blue
hushed and hot
sole hint of cloud
the thickening haze
of burning cane.

Day following too.
The yigüirro sings
the heat of the day
paraque call beats
half through the night
skies stubborn clear.

Morning springs
trade winds freshen
whisking away
all chance of rain.
This year the growers
will wait for the planting.

The slopes parch
earth powders and cracks.
Plants hold their breath
hanging on, waiting
leaves curl close
cower the fierce sun.
Humans thirst
shoots of fresh green.

Books now available

All three of my books are now available at CreateSpace in paperback, and at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

 

BookCoverImage

Meanders: a poem

Forty years in the writing, James Just’s poem Meanders takes us on a journey of the heart and spirit. Through Northern California and Oregon, Europe and Central America, we share the adventure of the path to becoming human.

Meanders is Just’s third book of poetry, following A Year of Days and Sketches of Poás.

The cover painting is Der Fuhrmann II, (The Carter), Helmut Lortz, 1946, oil on wood. The cover was designed by artist Gesa Emde. Artist Gesa Emde provided the cover art and illustrations for A Year of Days, and Sketches of Poás. Emde lives and paints in a village in the Vosges Mountains in France, where she and her husband operate the art center Pas de Deux, http://www.gem-design.de

CreateSpace store, Amazon, Kindle

 

 

BookCoverImageSketches of Poás: Poems by James Just, Illustrated by Gesa Emde

Sketches of Poás follows James Just’s first book of poems, A Year of Days. Sketches of Poás is a collection of whimsical poems about the community living on the slopes of Vulcán Poás – birds, reptiles, insects, dogs, humans too, all sharing a magical place of coffee fields and forest, wind and rain, sun and stars, in tropical Costa Rica.

Artist Gesa Emde provided the cover art and illustrations for A Year of Days, and now has created the cover rendering of Vulcán Poás and illustrations to accompany each of the poems in Sketches of Poás. Emde lives and paints in a village in the Vosges Mountains in France, where she and her husband operate the art center Pas de Deux.

CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle

 

BookCoverImage

A Year of Days: poems
Illustrations by Gesa Emde

Through this evocative collection of poems we spend a year with poet James Just, his wife Irina and their two dogs in the mountains of Costa Rica. We feel fresh rhythms of sun and rain and wind. We discover exotic plants and animals. We connect with fellow adventurers from all over the world. We meet Tico friends, patient and generous with outlanders bringing strange customs and a foreign tongue. We sample local foods and savor an enchanting culture. We learn to relax and relish la pura vida. 
The cover art and interior illustrations are by artist Gesa Emde. Ms. Emde lives and paints in the Vosges Mountains in France, where she and her husband operate the art center Pas de Deux.

CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle