Plant poems under the cover of stars:
the dark of the moon is best;
a full moon will do, if you cannot wait.
A metaphor develops under the surface,
the subterranean alchemy
of meaning and memory.
Dark earth more readily accepts
dark purpose. The subconscious
wants shadows and torch light.
Poets know this well:
plant verse in the hollow of night.
Thanks to Katy Brown and Joyce Odam for today's contributions to the potluck that is Medusa's Kitchen. Katy is off to the "Fog and Woodsmoke" reading in Chico tonight; see b-board for details.
Katy writes: I remember what one of the oldsters told me when I was a child. He said his onions were the best because he always planted them in the dark of the moon at night. He said that root crops should be planted at night and flowering crops planted in daylight. He was an old lumberjack from Tennessee. As I was thinking of the moon pictures, I thought that poems are rather like the crops . . . they ripen in the dark places of the mind.
So we're stealing the end of Katy's poem for the Seed of the Week: In the Hollow of Night. What happens at night in the busy season of spring? Cat burglars? Frantic love-making? Or is that, as Katy says, where our poems come from? Let's rattle the dark a little this week, see what we can shake out of it. Send your darklings to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.
Meanwhile, Joyce is finishing off our SOW for this week: I saw in the news... Speaking of which, Benicia has taken the same cue and is presenting an exhibit called The Heart Roused: The News Through The Artist's Eye. 28 poets and visual artists from the Bay Area and Central Coast have been paired to select a news article and translate that story into art and poetry. Sponsored by Benicia Poet Laureate Ronna Leon, Benicia Public Library, Marilyn O'Rourke Gallery, 150 L St., Benicia. Exhibit runs June 22-July 29; opening reception/poetry reading is June 30.
DEATH IN THE NEWS
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
There is something avidly curious
about a death made of violence:
The watching of the news.
The innuendo of suspicion.
The voyeuristic thrill of solving:
The little pools of dread that feel like shadows.
You read the news—want an update—more
information. But other happenings are there
with their importance—political or otherwise
and this death lingers in your curiosity—
as if next door—or down the street—
or is about to happen—
Like any death.
A BREAK IN THE WEATHER
The rain has lessened. Everything subsides.
The winds. The sirens. All the dreary news
the day began with. All that’s whole divides.
The silences stay silent to confuse.
We don’t know how to read each other’s clues
or all these pendings—not just if but when.
It rained. It stopped. And it will rain again.
MOTHER BRINGS ME THE NEWS OF HER DEATH
Bringing me the news of her own death
with old sadness and praise, all in one breath,
of all she meant to say before she left . . .
like notes she put upon her calendar,
those day-to-days she marked, reminding her
of each small matter that the swift days were.
THE NEWS CAME DOWN
came down this morning
like a dark gull-
shadow over me,
like a wide sweep
of dread . . .
I had to
let it tell me,
detail after detail,
until all the heaviness was mine,
and the news
on the edges of our hands.
Our eyes quicken to see.
We are poor.
We lean into everything as if we were
good at finding.
How can we be
We are many.
Thee is love between us.
We walk among the
windows and look in.
Doors are closing.
The small portion of sky above us
is changing color.
Shadows scrape brick walls.
Birds are falling into suicides.
We live on the edges of
other people’s fame:
movie stars and politicians
murderers and victims.
At home we watch the screen
for coming attractions.
THINGS THAT ARE WHITE
tips of blue flame on the stove burner
your face when I tell you the news
TODAY IS NOT THE DAY
Today is not the day for luck.
For rage, perhaps;
for staring at the rain.
But today has come too swiftly,
on borrowed news, with static
and wet shoes.
And with today comes
those two proper sisters,
Grim and Lonely,
on my two chairs. I feed them
whiskey and dirty blues.
They blur and whisper.
The man I am holding
is half unholy—
the half I’m telling—
the other half
is heavy with mute clues.
Today is not
the day I choose
for dim remember.
The sisters are sleeping now:
the secret smile and meaning.
WET NEWS FROM HERE
took the rain down
from my long wet wall
time to change the season
hung up the gray wet fog
things don’t change much
(first published in Acorn, 1996)
A HOVERING OF NEWS
Sound and light.
A long afternoon.
A hovering of news.
Old and futile.
Like a sunset at the horizon.
Gone as you see it.