Book Release Celebration and Reading at Malvern Books – Friday Oct 5 at 7 pm
John Lee will be celebrating the release of, and reading from, a new collection of poems, “Five Friends on Sunday Afternoons,” along with authors, Lyman Grant, Bill Jeffers, David Jewell and John Oakley McElhenney. Please join them at 7 PM CDT at Malvern Books located at 613 W 29th Street in Austin, TX 78705.
Lee will be reading two of his poems, A Thunderstorm in Mentone and Holding On, that were written in his sweet cottage on Lookout Mountain in Mentone, Alabama as part of his way of letting go of a place that has been so dear to his heart for almost three decades.
A THUNDERSTORM IN MENTONE
A thunderstorm in Mentone.
The wind is different tonight.
The leaves on the trees move easily.
Summer rain cleans the horses
grazing in the pasture
across the road.
I saw lightning for the first time
in months. It looked like a ragged
tuning fork, and I felt the thunder
roll through my body.
Today, in a house a hundred miles
away I saw my father for the first
time in ten years.
He sat beside me with his bare shoulder
against mine as we looked at a map.
Years ago I would have wanted more to
happen and felt a disappointment,
but this meeting moved easily.
A part of me (the part that always wanted more)
felt cleaned. The lightning comes down in jagged
lines and then separates into its tines. A tuning
fork and a father and son
are like that too.
We talked about gas mileage; then
he showed me the peas he’s grown in his
This is the most affection I’m going
To get, I thought.
Today this amount of affection was finally enough.
There is always one leaf
that hangs on to certain trees
even in mid-January – wind
blowing thirty miles an hour.
It holds on the way a bowl holds on
to a Buddhist monk, a Bible holds
on to a Christian; the way a cane
holds on to a blind man.
What holds on to me when it’s winter?
A poker perhaps to punch and stir the
fire, a pen that turns empty white
paper into a prayer for some company.
Every morning I sit down by
the fire. I see the poker by my hand,
the pen on the table and, outside, the
leaf still holding on.