—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
Ice in the moonlight—
the stars breaking like glass.
Old, cold moonlight—
old rooster of the neighborhood.
Seven words left to say
in the protesting mouth of silence:
once more stricken with eyes.
Thanks to Joyce, Robin and D.R. for today's contributions! Joyce's "innocent morning" takes us right into our new Seed of the Week: Early in the Morning. Recently I had occasion to be at McDonald's very early, gripping my decaf and watching blackbirds harass a crow. I also saw how busy the world is on a summer morning before breakfast: construction workers, landscapers, vacationers with cars piled high, traveling salesmen with shirts hanging in the back seat, others grudgingly on their way to work. Sounds of traffic, lawnmowers, sprinklers—and that exasperated crow trying to shake those determined birds. What does your muse have to say about Early in the Morning? Hangovers or hope? Flip-flops or high heels? Country-early or city? Send your Early Morning poems to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs, either; go up to our Snake on a Rod on our bulletin-board and click it for a whole passel of SOWs from the past.
Cleo Griffith sends us word of a new reading series in Modesto at the St. Clair Theater, 417 7th St., to be held on the third Thursday each month as part of the city's Third Thursday Art Walk. Gary Thomas will read in July, and Cleo in August, but Sept. and October are still open. If you'd like to be a featured reader, contact Olivia Malekos at 209-531-3571 or 209-558-2562 or IBM1352@yahoo.com
WAKING UP TOGETHER
—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines
Dingy tee-shirts, smudgy
make-up, last night’s manners
clouded over by sleep: lovers
(and even maiden aunts)
bring surprising secrets
to the breakfast table.
Cities, too: San Francisco
in her bleary bathrobe of fog
performs a hasty toilette
with garbage trucks
before tourists arrive. . .
ALL THAT IS DROWNED
turns to a sleep-man’s eye
who looks and looks
but he is dreaming.
The sunlight is under the wind.
It is morning.
All the roosters of the neighborhood
are mechanically crowing.
All that is rained upon this night
is washed innocent and clean.
The world is gone.
The sleep is done.
The dream is the drowned fish
cut open on the table.
THE GREEN LANDSCAPE
(After “Morning” —Gregory Kondos)
The paint has not dried—will never dry
under the layer upon layer
of the artist’s revisions;
there is only the wide green land
with the suggestion of a house
among trees—after half a century
the house still there, pulled back
in a frame of time—around it,
the unpopulated fields
with the gold splashes of sunshine,
the wide clear sky drifting over,
the day’s shadows taking their time.
THE RELEASING LANDSCAPE
Now is the time for the other knowing,
wherever the slumbering moan and turn—
fathoming—when they most discern
some distant lowing . . .
some uttered sound in a distance, drifting,
bearing a tone that is near and far,
bringing itself to where they are,
their sleep-veils lifting—
some other presence out of the somewhere,
when the awakening turn and moan,
sensing the unknown and the known.
Did they imagine they were forsaken—
out of their transient wilderness,
that something would reach them now and bless—
their old souls taken?
RUNNING THE FAN ALL NIGHT
So it’s midnight now
a hot July night
fading in and out the window,
the noisy fan making wobbly circles
the two crows
hanging from it
trembling with vibration,
so much is loud in summer
their thoughts fusing,
so much is spilled across a sheet
of white paper: the fact of midnight—
a hot July night—neighborhood
sounds fading in and out the window.
LANDSCAPE WITH BED
Out in the muted daylight, a bed is waiting
for my sleep—a soft sky floating like a
dream about to happen. I note one pillow,
plumped, and a small end-table with nothing
on it. I lie down and drift—a sense of gray
beginning and a solitude so deep I want to
enter it. I feel the lack of walls like a
relief and think past the thought of ceiling
to this vast and perfect stillness that pulls
to the stillness that I bring out of all my
chaos— that tempts me out of insomnia to the
safe and promising comfort of this bed.
In stippled air,
the butterfly dances toward the pen...
write me, it says . . . draw me, it pleads;
I am all I am.