—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento
It was not Oriental Red, like he had promised,
but the sweetest blue silk — a gift, before he
She wore it in the long afternoon, in her
She wore it before her dark mirror.
It was icy blue, like a cold lover’s eyes.
It lay over her shoulders, falling like a chill of
shadow upon her.
She saw how it covered her like the sky,
how it was the color of her eyes — she
shivered and slipped it off.
She folded it loosely and put it away, with her
crimson slippers and a sachet, of Oriental Red.
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
I used to think I should have long blue hair,
silky as sunlight through summer rain;
silky as a doll’s blue hair,
combed by a child in a cancer ward.
Blue is that shimmer on far hills
where it has been raining,
blue rain of twilight,
all the original shadows
moving into place,
where the ghosts of so many
are wandering the sky
as if they knew how to live again.
Blue is a color to be taken seriously;
It must fit the dreams
as well as the reality.
Blue has a silky tone,
like a blue swish of fabric
pulled over safe dreams
from which no one awakens, terrified.
The child has long blue silky hair now,
combed by her doll
which is bald.
This is a secret between them:
they know what they know,
but cannot put words to the phenomenon.
Each turns to silk in the dream,
slowly unwinding around each other,
floating upward and downward
and outwardly yearning,
voiceless in the tangible silence—
a mutation of silver
and dark sensation,
apart and together,
darkening and brightening
like the underside of music.
How lyrical to move like that—
to feel like that—
to watch from one’s own dreamlessness
THE LUMINOUS BLUE
(after "Mediterranean", Raoul Dufy, 1923)
For the sake
I draw this color
beyond the true,
of the mind
and of the need
let go the rules
THE NATURE OF SILK
(after “The Feasts of Silk”, Toyen, 1962)
This hanging of silk,
that take on shape
in closet light
each time the door
caught standing there,
in the light
of your imagination.
Oh, do not
bother them again;
they are admiring
fit and fold,
their fabric makes
in the shining way
they brush against
(First published in Haight Ashbury Literary Review)
OF THIS WET MORNING
Where air-silk flows like dreams
over the gray moiré
of this soft morning—
the wet leaves tipped with
light—everywhere flashing amid
the golden music of tiny songbirds
through the perfect light
where no sorrow is allowed—
where the smallest flower
will blossom because you find it
and the gray silk days
will soften into evening
and the sky will ring with stars,
so bright you’ll praise them openly.
The music that haunts the most
is always blue, the kind of blue
that merges into black and gray,
that comes from every ragged hurt
there is to share and what the
inarticulate will ever try to say;
some city-street-musician plays it
every day—wailing inward like a
winter soul, long-beaten down and
long-removed from hymn or lullaby,
though here the lost still try to
pray—too poor for more than what
they have become, scavenging at
emptiness with hungry hands, being
everything the street blues say.
WOMAN CAUGHT IN A BLUE DREAM
Caught in moonlight’s floating web,
in breeze of silver—shred by shred,
of dream sensation, yielding deep
into the curtain of her sleep,
enveloped by the closing room
wrapped and wrapped in sleep’s cocoon.
...it was the burnished way
light shook itself from trees
and spilled into the red air,
closing down the day...