Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Does Red Sound Like?

—Photo by Robin Gale Odam

—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento

It was not Oriental Red, like he had promised,
but the sweetest blue silk — a gift, before he
left her.

She wore it in the long afternoon, in her
quiet room.

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.


Thanks to "the Odam girls" for today's poems and pix. Robin Odam says, "After so much blue, I feel like red!" She's talking about our Seed of the Week last week, Blue Silk, and so many fine poems about it that we received. Thanks to all of you for that.

This weeks' SOW is Soundgarden: Poems That Explore Sound. Write about the birds or the bees or whatever, but use primarily sound images. Or experiment with the words you use: rhyming at the end of lines or inside them, or use words that sound like what they protray, or... We use so much visual imagery that sometimes we leave out the other senses. And what's worse, we sometimes forget that poetry is a SOUND form—we get caught up in telling a story and end up with "prose that uses short lines", instead of the short lines of spoken music that poetry is supposed to be.

Anyway, send your soundplay to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.


—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.


—Joyce Odam

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,
constantly writhing

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


(after "Mediterranean", Raoul Dufy, 1923)
—Joyce Odam

For the sake
of blue

I draw this color

beyond the true,
like Dufy’s

simple mystery
of the mind

and of the need
to see

let go the rules


(after “The Feasts of Silk”, Toyen, 1962)
—Joyce Odam

This hanging of silk,
these dresses
that take on shape
of bodies—
three wraiths
in closet light
each time the door
is opened,
caught standing there,
in the light
of your imagination.
Oh, do not
bother them again;
they are admiring
their own
fit and fold,
the shadow-play
their fabric makes
in the shining way
they brush against
each other
for sensation.

(First published in Haight Ashbury Literary Review)


—Joyce Odam

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.


—Joyce Odam

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.


—Joyce Odam

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.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

...it was the burnished way
light shook itself from trees

and spilled into the red air,
closing down the day...



—Photo by Robin Gale Odam