—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento
Want...deeply planted seeds...fragile memories...
All I want is a little time, some solitude,
peace and quiet...last-minute me bustling off to the
Billowing black clouds above Bel Air Market,
Christmas painted on the windows, shelves of
candy canes and stuffing mix and isles of
people with no eyes, they move like snakes.
I want Christmas like when I was little and
Mama and Daddy took us downtown to walk
in the misty air and see our reflections in the
windows full of Christmas elves making wonderful
toys and the beautiful no-expense-spared display at
Breuner’s and rustic scenes of shameless nativity.
Everyone said Merry Christmas and Happy
New Year, not happy holidays.
We played pick-up-sticks and jacks on the black
and white checkered kitchen floor and smelled dinner that
would be ready in about thirty minutes and after dishes we
rode on the strong back of our horse named Daddy as he
whinnied and reared and dared us to fall off to be
tortured with his tickling and rough play and Mama
changed the lighting and put on soothing music.
Daddy sang “Oh Christmas Tree” and we admired it and
inspected the beautiful presents and brushed our
teeth and stood over the floor furnace so its rush of
heat could billow the beautiful new nightgowns that
Mama had sewn and then ran to bed quickly so as
not to lose the warm air.
Mama wanted a little time and solitude. To think and to
write. And to plant little seeds of memories.
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
Am I a child now,
I look at dolls on shelves.
I wish for China clowns
in satin hats,
I stare at mobiles
and touch at bells
and wind-chimes when I pass.
(First published in No Name Newsletter for Poets,
formerly Poets Forum Magazine)
I want bead curtains to hang in my doorway
like those in old movies, tinkling softly
when someone brushes through.
(First published in Brevities, 2009)
I wanted to
write you a poem,
but all I could say
I celebrate you.
I wanted to say
in a special way,
but all I could
think of was
a happiness to me.
And I celebrate you.
(First published in Quoin)
WEIGHT OF LONELINESS
To see something you want to share,
and nobody there—
no one to prove your finding,
no one to help carry the memory
grown sharp or dim
as the years dilute—
how can anyone carry this alone?
to your presence.
You are a long sorrow
lengthening even as I
You are spreading
over my entirety.
I am helpless under your
You have such a wide
cold and forever.
How come I nuzzle
against you and weep
like a lost child
to a lost mother?
THE WHITE ISLAND
You are the white island I see in the dream—
the dot in the distance—the sea calm,
striking the beach with no sound.
I want to go there, but distance always
recedes—pulling farther away.
Then sea birds cry
and I waken.
THE MYTH YOU TRY TO LIVE UP TO
(Unconditional Love—Sarah Descallar)
Hope wears a blindfold so you can grope
toward the brightness of your desire.
It is the only way to earn what you want.
It is its own guarded secret.
It will tell you, and tell you to follow—
follow. And you will follow
and not stumble,
though there are pitfalls everywhere.
Your heart is pure and your
want is sacred.
You will never fail yourself,
and someday hope may reward you.
WHEN ALL THOSE SONGS
What can we do
when all those songs
hurt in us
and want to live…
we can sing, maybe.