Saturday, May 01, 2010

Regret Moves in a Circle

May Flowers
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

(after Gertrude Stein)

Halting speech. In. (inversion) hesitated
mind. Groping for.
Whatever. Word will come
next. Perplexed toward.
Silence. Gertrude in her.
Shadow. Playing with periods and.
Spaces. Enlightened toward light—
a whole sentence. She. Speaks toward me.
Her pupil. Our eyes. Meet.
Speak like this.
Interruptive. What is poetry.
One of us asks again. Which.
She. Not me. I echo. Duet.
She died. I revere. Make sense. Or.
Not. I pray toward. Halting
speech. Trying. On her words. As if.
They were mine.
Feels. Good. To talk like this.


—Joyce Odam

(after Landscape 1927—Miro)

Two arcs create a myth, dotting the sky
with wide precision.

A leaping thing does handsprings
to create diversion.

The land cuts from the sky
and cuts the world in half.

The silly creature tumbles like a rag.
The two arcs hold.

Two circles startle, vibrated from a dot.
The landscape twangs.

A vacant eye beholds all this
and does not blink.

One stare deserves another,
don’t you think?


—Joyce Odam

how you
twirl the center
with your eyes
looking for the dot
or that center through
which you fall dreaming
in the world of sleep or the
slow room spinning with you
• as the dot in the center look how
you find a break through which
a piercing streak of light
becomes a nail to your
eyes and you grope
your hand to it
as if it could
lead you

(first published in Poetalk,
Bay Area Poets Coalition)


—Joyce Odam

Word by emphatic word,
they keep their conver-

sations taut—watch for
the pauses, use their

hands, let eyes com-
pel eyes, scrape chairs,

use body language
consciously—even scoff

with accentuated silences.


—Joyce Odam

Ponderous with light, the figure moves
under its own illusion; it carries
another weight—an equal darkness.

Heavy as stone, the second illusion
imagines itself as a wing—lifts and fails
—lifts and fails—tries again and flies.

Regret moves in a circle, knows where
it has failed, yearns to correct the fault.
It comes at last to the shattered face
of the mirror.

Old news crumples itself up
into a newspaper and begins to fade
to a sickly yellow. Tired of itself now,
it longs for simple recipes and poems.


Today's LittleNip:

Soon he will resume his burden. In morning sunlight, the sparrow hops across old snow.

—Stephen Dobyns

Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove