Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Theater Of Memories

Les Amants (The Lovers), 1928
—Painting by René Magritte

(After Les Amants by René Magritte)
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Veiled and forgiven, even now,
through dreams and deep imaginations;

from loves that never were—
veiled eyes and each veiled kiss.

What still vies between them
like veils of disbelief and loss?

What is the blessing—what the curse?


Thanks to JO for today's poems, and for the inspiration for our new Seed of the Week: Magritte's The Lovers. What was he trying to tell us, and was he right? Is love truly blind, and isn't that a good thing? As always, though, the SOW is just the starting point; don't worry about being literal or even sticking to the theme. The point is to get that pen of your moving across the page. Send SOWs to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.


(After Piet Mondrian: Blue Façade, Composition 9, 1913-14)
—Joyce Odam

The observers sit apart
in two ways of seeing
The Composition:

           a large screen of squares and
           oblong shapes that exchange
           colors and recede;

the observers sit on a long green
shape—much like a bench—supported
by two columns of identical green;

           they do not move for fear of
           losing the inspiration; they
           do not explain what they see,

but allow themselves to become a part
of the green—becoming blue—touched
with gold light—and edged with black

          for a reminder of sadness. It is all so
          shifting and mysterious, and they wait
          for further, full-effect. And they wait.


(after The Conversation by Morris Davison
—Joyce Odam

How charmingly they swirl together
in abstract value, never quite defined,
seldom understood, word through word—

gesturing and shifting, meanings losing context,
thoughts losing their places, as plane after plane
of conversation takes yet another direction.

How cleverly they change the value
of light and shadow
as if being rendered into an impression

by some impassioned artist
measuring the complicated din
of his listening—

all of them talking
or none of them talking at once—
letting a gap of silence in

then rushing through it once again—
becoming a blur of exemplified meaning
which has no meaning other than its sound.


—Joyce Odam

I grow into the cult of music
with my non-voice, misread the tune
with my deaf ear.

Once I was a singer—a mountain stream—
a spot-light target,
wanted for my fame.

I wore numbers to guide me through the hours
toward the white piano shining in the dark.
The cat purred in the tapestry.

I still sense the nearness of roses
in the shallow arms of vases.

Something still reaches from the mirror—
looks past me to the blankness,
into which it stares, as if remembered.

Afterwards, there is only light,
pocked with winter,
cold light examining damp walls and faded rugs.

Or is it only the escape of windows
where some singer remains—
an old echo, fading in and out, losing hope at last.


—Joyce Odam

When she forgot her language she forgot
her love, though her house was brimming
with light in the possessible dark

where her husband kept looking through
all the bright rooms for what she forgot
and wept into the telephone his loss;

but she was away in her mind—
in a place without words—forgetting
her endearments, her lusty persuasions,

the laugh that scattered her opinions,
until he believed each one
and she ruled the new place of forgetting.


(After Mademoiselle Julie Manet, 1887 by Pierre Auguste Renoir)
—Joyce Odam

Girl and cat
in tranquility of pastel.
Girl day dreams. Cat purrs.

Her shadow against the couch
is motionless.
The cat allows itself to be loved.

Vague light in the room
stays soft. The walls diffuse.
Her thoughts hide in her eyes.

All is fading—
losing context
in tone after tone of quietness.

I watch for her breathing.
She does not know how I linger
over this moment she has claimed

for herself—
how even the cat
is unaware of my imposition.


—Joyce Odam

There are two ways to look at this,
two poems to pull against you:
pro and con—
hither and yon—two points of view.

One is loud, and one is louder.
No listener for each. There will be
one force and one surrender.
Neither will win.

On one side of the face is a calm,
the other a cry.
Between them is the mirror.
The glass is the truth with two interpretations.

Light is what you see. Dark is what you feel.
You grope between. Outside this room,
the world is widening. There is no end.
The door is what you must solve:

Open or close—close or open.
The door is in the mirror. Hurry.
The world is losing this moment of you.
The moment is all. It is entering the wall.

You will be left where you are,
trying to decide—trying to find:
the right word, the right time, the exact intention.
The other is you.


—Joyce Odam

Howl into light, holding yourself aloft,
mirrored, your mouth open on grief—

your own loss—singing into the wet air
of weeping, your other self beneath you,

feeling for your heart with fumbling hands,
your other arms opposite-moving.

How will you live apart from yourself?


Today's LittleNip: 

—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento 

she rested at the doorway of the building,
regarded the warning posted on its locked door,
took a photo for her friends...

she would not be alarmed—she could write
her own warning...

no danger within, only faded walls, quiet
home for scampering and crawling and nesting...

old perfume and cigarettes, worn carpet, ceiling
blackened from flickering lanterns, remembered
music of laughter and clink of ice in amber
liquid, hollow space now...

not to be condemned and stolen, old theater of
memories—like the Alhambra...

Joyce Odam
—Photo by Robin Gale Odam