—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
More houses. More and more houses.
Blocks and blocks of brown framework
eating up the land.
I look out over roofs and roofs and roofs
that take up all the distance
and wonder: where are the rabbits,
where will they go now: the brown
field rabbits, huddled somewhere
within all that diminishment.
I hear the territorial barking of dogs,
the cars that swish through on brand new
streets. I look and look and look
through the stale brown air
at the vanishing habitat of the rabbits.
BLACK LIGHT AGAINST THE GO
there it goes again
into the dark funereal sunshine
of traffic and pedestrian
against the go
long mourn of cars that bears
the somber passengers
through a life’s amen
there it goes . . . there it goes again
the same grim destination
claiming its priority . . .
life turns away
so no rude thought cut between
(first pub. in Legend, 1973)
THE BILLBOARD ADVERTISEMENT
He is painting the universe with his eyes.
He is making things come true—the long
far visions that arrive blind—the birds that
fly into his shoes. The way he turns his
head to perfect every detail suggests
what a perfectionist he is, though he
risk the vertigo or misunderstanding
of his pose. He is almost through.
What he sees is good—a billboard bought
by a millionaire. What it says is true:
the people who look up at it from their
moving cars at the end of the day will buy.
At the doorway of twilight, two boys
sit on the warm sidewalk,
side by side—cross-legged—
as the world rolls by
in twilight cars,
and the day’s light steepens
its shadows, and the building
lowers its own slow shadow,
filling the doorway,
and the two boys gaze into
the moving world—
their eyes set in the deep
engrossing stare of childhood.
And now there is rain,
and a night to catch it in.
I am fitting under the hours
like a prayer,
though nothing answers prayers.
I lie here and listen to the rain.
It is soft. Hypnotic. I gather the warmth
of the room like a simple comfort.
It is enough. I feel good. The rain
keeps falling like a benevolence,
There is no wind;
sounds of cars make blurring sounds—
they vibrate the air.
Sounds of sirens are
thin and distant.
The rain-sound is nearer,
falling a bit harder now.
Something alerts me
from my smooth feeling.
A dog with a hound-voice
begins barking in a monotonous
and mindless bark—telling
the neighborhood his threats and suspicions.
CRYING IN THE RAIN
An old woman crying—what is her grief—
who cares about her? She is barely visible,
crying in the rain, walking across the street
in front of the cars,
letting the rain pour down upon her,
looking straight ahead as her hair goes stringy
and her clothes soak through.
Still, she does not hurry. She is an old woman
walking in the rain. She has crying to do.
TALE OF A MUSTARD-COLORED CAR
It was a lost toy,
left in a long-ago sand-pile,
smothering there: all these years.
It was in a coloring book,
two sisters quarreling over the colors:
one wanted blue, one wanted yellow.
It was in a factory—in China—
monotonous from duplication:
It wanted to be gold, not mustard…
It was in the hand of a small boy
who picked it up with joy—
wiped off the sand, and said Wow!
Thanks to Michelle Kunert for her turtles, and to Joyce Odam for today's poems. We also have an Octo from Don Feliz (see below), which is our Form to Fiddle With this week—though Don's played fast and loose with it by using nine syllables in the first and last line if you consider "Frederick" to be three syllables; that's just the kind of wild and crazy guy Don is! Anyway, fiddle with the Octo if you choose.
Or write to our Seed of the Week: Behind Closed Doors. What goes on Behind Closed Doors? Unmentionable delights, or unspeakable crimes? Whispers of family secrets, or bargains struck in smoke-filled rooms? Ask your Muse what she thinks and send her answers to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.
Let me call your attention to our new feature on the green section of the b-board: if you click on the dawg who's Feelin' Frisky, you'll enter a land of poetry quizzes to stretch your brain here, there, and everywhere! And while you're on the b-board, note that the deadline for our Submission Tip of the Week, Tule Review, is this coming Saturday!
OCTO FOR THE PAGODA AT SANSOUCI
—Don Feliz, Sacramento
Frederick The Great of Prussia rides
by carriage between linden trees
through rain along his private drive.
Drachenhaus, octagon with four
tiers and sixteen dragons that roar
through rain along his private drive.
By carriage between linden trees
Frederick The Great of Prussia rides.
A white flower grows in the quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.
—Rumi (trans. by Coleman Barks)