Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All Kinds of Dads

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Come to the hawk land.
Bring bones.
Wear necklaces of teeth.
Watch for the slippery shadows.

You will become as one of those
who have always lived here.
When you hear wings,
climb stones
till you reach the nest.
Climb in.
Lie on the dreams.

The children you own
will thrive here.
They will be wild and hungry.
They will choose their own names.
They will live precariously
on the cliffs of your fear.

Whoever loves you
will never undo your power.
The shadow is your love.
The nest is your land.
The hawk is your mother.

(Cal. Fed. of Chaparral Poets, Inc. prizewinner that first appeared in CFCP Prizewinning Poems, 1988 and The Bridge)


Joyce Odam is doing our final virtuoso performance on the nest photo that was last week's Seed of the Week. And you guessed it—Father's Day is right around the corner. We had so many poets emerge from the woodwork for Mother's Day (especially when I said you didn't have to be NICE!)—write about Dear Old Dad this week, and send your Dad photos, artwork and poetry to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs, though—write about any from the past, should you be so inclined.

Here's a dandy Dad poem from Norma Kohout to get you started. I'm sure you've got a million of 'em...


—Norma Kohout, Sacramento

Yes, he was a different kind of dad
than the others on the block.
They hadn’t “served overseas;”
and that meant seeing
corpses in muddy trenches and killing
in “No Man’s Land.” It was different
that he owned a Manlicher rifle
and Luger pistol he could take apart
and put together blindfolded.
His good looks: military bearing,
ash blond hair and British mustache
were different. He was
the only dad that awakened neighbors
starting up his truck at seven a.m.
That felt a little embarrassing,
although our friends liked his kidding
and the nicknames he dreamt up.
They never seemed to notice
that he left after dinner, having changed
into his tan twill shirt and pants—Lucky Strikes
and wallet tucked into his pocket—driving away
in the old Duesenberg with the red leather seats.


—Joyce Odam

(after Deer in the Forest I, 1913 by Franc Mark)

First, a bird with violet wings, gliding like a
thought through the dense mythology of trees,
the light in thin white patterns glancing off of
darknesses—the dangers that circle, but are
blind—the breath of hidden animals that exist
in innocence of fear.

The bird is a reminder, though it has blended-in
to the entanglement of shadows. The forest is
made of grief and would begin to disappear, but
the bird has made a nest here, which is some-
here in the struggle to exist.

The bird goes in and out of the forest as it needs;
the sky waits for it like a dream; they are part of
each other, as all things are. The bird catches in
the air-nets of the forest, then shudders free,
disguised as song—the nest is safe. Then out of
all the perilous silence guarding here, the bird
remembers why it sings.


—Joyce Odam

I cannot name the egg again.
It remains as mysterious as ever.
I, making ordinary breakfast
of the egg,
never consider what I am doing.
Sometimes I try to be talented with it,
cracking it open with one hand
and dropping it into the pan
without breaking it.
Nests of it turn under chickens
into a tedium of miracles
which I can hear forming.
If it floats, it is bad.
It can be saved for throwing.
Original Chicken pecks her eggs
with her curving and yellow beak
that is hard as a bone.
The eggs of the goose are stacked into
a mountain.
She will not hatch them.
I am surrounded by eggs.
I use them for symbols.
Three ducks so far have given us
three sets of ducklings.
One or two of each set always drowned,
though I always knew
that ducks always take to water.
At dusk, we gather the eggs,
stealing them from all the intention.
We go where it is dark and full of straw
and take them.

(first appeared in Permafrost)


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

I build a nest of things discarded,
make sure it can’t be seen,
disguise it in the weeds—
forget it even—
to keep it safe from all invasion.

(From “I Make A Place Here” by Rita Gabis )

Bridal Veil Falls, Hwy 50
Photo by Katy Brown