Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yellow And Blue Conditions

I saw this pharmaceutical ad in the newspaper claiming
"Citrus fruit may irritate your bladder..."
Oh yeah—attack the food God created in nature
growing free for us to eat from trees
Unlike modern chemicals brewed in up labs,
it's poisoned no one from the dawn of time
along with giving vital nutrients that prevent diseases
Our very DNA and biology crave it
(and why was Eve in the beginning mocked for eating her desires?!)
But thanks to those multi-million-dollar corporations
that seem to hate anything that doesn't profit them,
my mom won't eat a neighbor's grapefruit
thinking its fruit is going to make her ill
She'd rather consume canned pork and beans
as well as her other processed "comfort foods"
which, like her prescriptions, kill good intestinal bacteria.

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


Thanks to today's contributors, including poetry from Michelle Kunert and Joyce Odam, and the photo from Katy Brown of last Wednesday's "baseball" reading at the Central Library in Sacramento. Michelle's poem gave me the idea for this week's Seed of the Week: I saw in the news... Of course, news isn't just newspapers anymore; it's radio, TV, the Internet—or just the grapevine! Send your SOWS to kathykieth@hotmail.com, either this week's or rummage around in Calliope's Closet over there on the b-board under the Snake on a Rod.

Davis Poet Laureate Allegra Silberstein has two reminders for us: Hope to see you this Friday [at The Other Voice in Davis; see b-board for details] and also hope you will celebrate Poem in your Pocket Day this coming Thurday. Davis Mayor Joe Krovosa will make it official for Davis tomorrow night. Cities across the nation are celebrating this day. It's simple: just carry a poem with you (your own or one by a poet you love) and share it with everyone you meet on Thursday. The Blanchard room at the Davis library on 14th street will be open from 1 to 5:30pm on Thursday for sharing poetry.

There's still one opening for an open mic reader at this Wednesday's Rattlesnake Press Lucky Seven Birthday Bash at The Book Collector, 7:30pm. Lemme know: kathykieth@hotmail.com


(based on "Aerial I", oil on canvas, 2003, by Erin Noel)
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

From here, a numbered painting—
no detail—just circles and
squares marked with plane-shadow,
an unfamiliar landscape on a travel map.

To get there, one has to cross seven mountains,
three rivers made of winding and a much-used
sky-path—high enough for geese.

If you have come this far, you are homesick—
long for that small blue square to pull you down,

be a place you recognize—something to land for.


—Joyce Odam

Nothing here is familiar—
a land of whispers and sighing.
The sky has lost its color.
Rusty mountains guard its borders.
At night there is a crying.

Old dreams gather to escape from memory.
But memory follows them
like timeless travelers.
Giant flowers lean and murmur—
offer the gravity of answers.

Morning will be cold again.
The land will wake to loneliness.
The birds of sorrow
will return
but without their singing.

The spirits of love and loss
will resume their searching.
The moans will sharpen everywhere.
The mournful gods will say, not yet . . .
not yet . . . and speak of love to one another.


(based on “Loving Couple”, 1973, by Fernando Botero)
—Joyce Odam

Oh, here we are,
in the middle of a dream,
the day serene, the templed city blind.

One of us is nude,
the other clothed in rumpled blue.
Red fruit has fallen all around,

and is still falling
in a soundless fall.
We are not hungry now.

The mountains float behind us
in the bordered mist
blending into the diluted sky.

We’ve reached the stillness here—
the birdless air—
the trees that lean, asleep.

We lie, embraced, in mockery of love.
We’re simply here,
in the middle of an unremembered dream.


(based on "Melancholie Dispersion" by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau)
—Joyce Odam

Don’t sigh. You’ll move the universe.
Your chin in your hand will cause
the mountains to crumble.

Close your eyes upon your tears
and the seas will overflow with anguish.
There will be only one season.

Time will stop here. Your thoughts will
collide with reason and a great upheaval
will be felt. You’ll not get through

the debris. How can you be responsible
for such destruction, causing the end
of the world because of your sadness.

Everything is waiting for you to
release yourself. Hide among
the yellow and blue conditions

all you like, they are reminding you
of self-quake, earth that crumbles,
you sliding further into yourself.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

In three
sepia panels:
huts at the base of
mountains: tiny cattle
that graze: figures who tend to their daily toil
but look at the distance—
beyond the mountains—
letting their far gaze



"The Ball Team", 2011
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis