Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We Believe What We Believe

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

English Tile Collection: A study of Cornflowers and ears
of wheat in translucent glazes of ochre, blue and green.
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

A glossy background of flat green, ruffled
blue cornflowers and golden ears of wheat,
a red-haired lady in a blue gown struggling
through them—as though lost—or wanting

to explore deeper this maze of color. She seems
stricken with indecision, at odds with size and
contrast—especially the boundaries that seem
to tighten at every tug against the entanglements.

She is the foreign element here, about to be
enveloped and absorbed by the lushness—
a centerpiece—her face disappearing
as she holds back one flower after another,

trying to get through them. This is a garden
abandoned to the charm of some forgotten
history—noticed now by someone idly
fingering the pattern—guessing the story.


—Joyce Odam

Stepping out of himself, he hears the old music and
remembers the early rage and resumes the dancing
along the line of shadows that wait for his touch,
how they move into the range of his passion.
He remembers them as love—though love
has never forgiven him his leaving.
So many, he sighs, and
opens up his arms.


—Joyce Odam

She wipes and cleans,
makes her world neat,
can’t stand anything dirty.

She has such scrubbed
and shining hands; water
is handy, and white rags.

Everything she touches
sings with a
sleek and shining sound.


—Joyce Odam

you own
all the tears

blue things
running down the

your years

how long has
sadness owned you

do you love
your sadness

weep        weep
you own all the


—Joyce Odam

This is the mirror my husband shot
when he was careless, or angry, or thought
perhaps I had betrayed him and caught
my image in his sights and wrought
symbolic vengeance there. I don’t know what
to say of it—why we keep it—surely not
my obsession with this torn glass. It’s got
so I love to look in it; I ought
to pull my face away. We never fought
after that—just bore the silent, hot
look of his stare and my stare back. An old plot.
What he delivered. What I never bought.
He likes to stand behind me. There’s a lot
more to this than this small, round dot
in the center of this mirror that my husband shot.


—Joyce Odam

The young man from River City
arrives with his pencil
full of signatures
to the desk
to receive his shipment:
bones of love
sent broken to his arms.

They, too, are useless.
He will lay them
on a water bed and watch them
gleam beneath his distant looking.
On the walls are others.
It took years.
All over his life he found them,
first as habit        then obsession.

(first pub. in Vignettes, Mini-Chap, 2002)


—Joyce Odam

And the heart beats with longing, even as
the blood flows. What does love know
of this—or hate—or any passion?

It is all slow completion, even as it begins.
Take fear, which is delicious—
surface and depth—like a terrible wish.

Is it death we know—
cat and toy—
the prize on the end of a question?

And the blood goes round and round
the body’s universe,
bearing the life along like a tireless swimmer.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

Let things become as they will be.
Fact then assumes fiction.
Dry facts. Exotic fiction.

Rituals need substance.
Holy and unholy. Iconic knowledge.
Let us bless. Let us pray.

The answers come as mystery.
Mystery assumes its own necessity.
Thus do we believe what we believe.


Thanks to Joyce, Katy, and Michelle for today's offerings, and a reminder to check Medusa's Facebook page for our two most recent photo albums.

Other things to check out: The latest issue of Ekphrasis is out, edited by Carol and Laverne Frith. Go to www.ekphrasisjournal.com to order one. And I notice Mary Oliver will be reading in Santa Rosa on October 14; go to copperfieldsbooks.com/renowned_2011 to order tickets.


Antique school bus
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

Our Seed of the Week is Autumn: back to school,
apples and pumpkins, shorter days—
send your autumnal musings to
kathykieth@hotmail.com or 
P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.
And check Calliope's Closet under the
Snake on a Rod on the green board for
SOWs of the past: no deadline on our 
poetry seeds, autumnal or otherwise...