Photo Enhancement by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
HEART TO HEART
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
Tongue-in-cheek, you understood—it was
about the little things—it was the insignificant,
the unimportant things—that darkened the mind.
You somberly agreed. We faced the night
full of our darkness. We noted the absence
of stars, the pollute of color that still hung.
We sucked the old wounds clean with our
continuance of words. Our laughs were harsh
upon the harshness of each other. Our broken hearts
poured and poured their love upon the floor.
We stood in bloody shadows of commiseration
holding each other in our cynical desperation.
Oh player of sad music that hurts
my heart, I need to feel what you
make me feel—music that holds me
so still—so haunted, Oh player
of sad music, too beautiful to
bear—this is what I want to hear.
(Based on Band #10, Lifescapes, Emanuel Kirakou)
She is captive to the song of the nightingale.
It is a trick the forest plays on her—to keep
her here—to charm the bird so it will sing.
It is a ruse of twilight to linger past the hour
so she will forget time and lose her way back.
And the nightingale conspires, singing sweetly,
sweetly to her, from its branch. And the forest
settles its slow shadows over the path, and
flutters the sunlight above her with its leaves
that flicker for her eyes, until only a small patch
of closing light remains where she leans against
the comfort of the tree, where the nightingale,
with all its heart and praise, is singing.
(Based on Listening To The Nightingale [oil], Boden Lansen c. 1890)
Fly from my hand.
Feel my fingers open from you.
Know that I lose you freely.
I thought to cage you,
then felt your small heart beating
tides of terror in my palm.
My breast has known such thunder.
Only my prisoner-eyes
regret your going.
Is there a fragment somewhere
left of love—
that old wound that keeps on wounding;
dare I let memory persist
with its ragged edge that I kept mending
with little scissor-snips—
that worry-edge that wants to bleed;
how can I want to soothe
that old remorse
with kind forgiveness,
myself at least—my better self—
that could always put everything in perspective
you’re back; I heard
you all last night. . . .
you soothed my restless sleep
and now at day’s first light
my cat sits on the windowsill
and watches you…and watches you . . .
In stippled air,
the butterfly dances toward the pen...
write me, it says... draw me, it pleads;
I am all I am.
(Be sure to come hear Joyce Odam read at the Sacramento Poetry Center this coming Monday, along with other poets from the new issue of Tiger's Eye: A Journal of Poetry. See b-board for details.)