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The Book of Noah

The Book of Noah

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The Book of Noah

169 pages
45 minutes
May 4, 2019


The Book of Noah is poem of poems in three parts, recounting events unfolding over the course of one portentous year. Set in a village in the mountains of Costa Rica, the poems explore the relationship between humans and gods and open a window into the numinous of the everyday.

May 4, 2019

About the author

James Just lives with his wife Irina and their dogs on the slopes of Vulcán Poás in Costa Rica.

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The Book of Noah - James Just


I. Jonah

Dream of Jonah

A prelude


The Bay, Berkeley

fog, salt air

a faded red Beetle

careens down hill

at the wheel a young man

a boy, really

barely shaved

drawn by heat

the valley, a girl

works the snack bar

a drive-in theater.

After last intermission

car windows steamed

a tangle, front seat

thighs creamy, coaxing

her silkiness smelling

of hot butter oil.

Girl blossomed woman

swollen of spilled seed

a man’s hand resting

the curve of her coccyx

she turns her head

back, a last glance

lad clenching a fist

she flips a blond curl

is gone.

Youth left behind

climbs high Cold Mountain

to winter a poet

call perhaps heard

in silence of snow.


Spring beckons early

the valley below

young man comes down

a handful of poems

teased from Cold Mountain

numbed craving warmth

a woman.

A river, a bluff

a tower, a keep

young man ensorcelled

claws through cool clay

a seam, polished pebbles

a shimmer, a black stone

in Earth’s furnace fired

by human hand honed.

The ransom he bears

to lay before woman

on red sofa spread

moist scent of her sex

he falls to his knees

pages scattered

black jewel foresaken.

In the deep of a night

spell shattered

niff of cold ash

feeling faint pulsing

of surf pounding shore

young man arises

slips away before light

tower left ruin

two little girls born



A beach, a young woman

zipless her promise

hand in hand they skip north

rife the waterways

Salish Sea.

Days pass, many

ties grow to bind

she sighing wistful

of sister bespoused

of home, of children

of her time passing

of intertwined roots

growing old as one

of her faith

of love.

Man’s heart rent

by damage done

he pays passage for one

ship setting sail

far beyond straits

of Juan de Fuca

the waves rising

he swept away

by cold brine swallowed

thrashing to breathe.

Through eye of a great fish

seeing what is to come

he ceases to struggle

and in his surrender

by ocean borne up.

The hardened hand

of a keen-gazed ferryman

pulls him to deck

planked with souls

wizened by time by tropic sun

a crossing, a river,

broad and brown

banks jungled green.

Lucky you are

Kharon says to his salvage

to bear the fare

his fingers plucking

slighted black gem

from sodden coin purse.

The boat poles to dock.

The man debarks

there awaiting, an angel

comely, serene

great black lab

sitting at heel.

She takes his arm

My name Eirene

she to him confides

your guide and consort

this journey together.





from the east

strums the pines

scatters the clouds





stiff-winged swifts

black dart the blue


a few



Convergencia and Alisios

Convergencia eyes Alisios

blowing in from the east

of a sudden picks up

and leaves taking with

her moody ways.

Sweet spirit in spring

and early the morn

after noon oft tipsy

by evening, tempered

sleeps sound through the night

wakes again in smile

freshened and beaming.

As her season ripens

her humors darken

her fits grow frightful.

Alisios breezes in

sunny of soul

warm of smile

his presence festive.

At times a blowhard

rarely shouting a round

grows to grate on the nerves

but he’s welcome

for a change

for a while.

Full moon

first night

the new year

Orion’s gilt girdle

faded to pale

Moon voluptuous


lips to palm

rising in homage

eyes squint

at the bright

Back to normal

Revelries over

the eating, the drinking

throbbing of morning

at last

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