Monday, November 14, 2011

On The Road Again

Rock (Red Veins)
—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

The delicate self of the white mouse
in the moonlight, small ghost

of its own existence, turning its head
in my direction, freezing to listen,

where I, in my sad beginning,
would rearrange

the way things are of life and death,
of fear and peril.

I am a white ghost too,
moving under the same darkness,

pulling my shadow back so the mouse
may be relieved of fear and safely pass.

(first pub. in Song of the San Joaquin, 2008)


—Joyce Odam

In the luminous room, shimmers
of light—reflections on the wall—the
fish tank with the blue water and golden fish.

A glassed-in world—
tiny air-bubbles rising like
colorless balloons through thinning sky.

The ceiling light reflecting
back, until the room is afloat with
water-shadows—water-light—ceiling fish.

(first pub. in Noir Love, Rattlesnake LittleBook #2)


After ‘Composition’ by Victor Vaserly
—Joyce Odam

Inside the maze
the golden fish swim to the edge
then swim away

to follow the jagged curve
and return again
to where they began.

Inside the maze
they ignite the golden darkness
they exist in—exaggerate themselves—

in a constant waver of motion
they follow and expand, as if they know
there is a way out, but trust what is familiar.


(after Young Girl with Goldfish Bowl, clipart picture)
—Joyce Odam

What is world
of one fish swimming
in small bowl of quiet water—

circling its image there
in mutual provision: its life,
its other life, the way it situates

its surroundings
with simple meaning;
and when the child comes

and places her small hands
against the glass, is there a brief
or lasting connection

of what there is between them:
sympathy and endurance—
whatever answer calms this question;

or is it all in the beauty of the meeting:
the stillness and the movement,
the sensitivity to a new meaning?


—Joyce Odam

this diamond fish
with his one centered eye
and his other eyes
out at the rim

this fish
in my glass
looking at me
from his own distance

wine colored mouth
transparent body
of cut light

his one life
is in my innocent hand
i twirl him to watch him grin

but he is sober-eyed
looking at me
and from his little time
wanting to tell me something
from his mind

but i am watching him
with drunken eyes
and can only marvel
at his beautiful sad self

little mortality image
that i love
so holy and pure
created for the length of
a dark glass of wine
and one poem…

i take one sip
and cannot find him again

(first pub. in Vagabond, 1975)


(after In Festen Grenzen by Paul Klee)
—Joyce Odam

“of endless agitation” —William Wordsworth

It’s the design:
one sees what one
sees in this sharp-angled maze,
the light coming from all directions,
as of orange shimmer of water over orange tile;

one might imagine
fish in a bright aquarium—
captured sunlight shimmering through
the exotic movement of the fish
moving in slow familiar patterns

in their small world with its
distortions: seams like arrows, tones of
quivery light through glass and water—
not that walls impede, or even imagination.

(first pub. in Rattlesnake Review)


—Joyce Odam

Oh, the ghost in the cornfield—in the
night—under the full moon it loves—
does a white-moon-dance with its
sleeves from its fixed position
though it tries to leap freely from its ties.

Oh, it shudders and cries
with its wind-hollow voice
and beacons its eyes to the eyes
of the windows. It knows there are
watchers there who admire it
and it flaps and moans the louder
until it is even more of a rag.

And tomorrow it will deny all this.
Tomorrow it will merely flutter
from inside out and simply hang
on a stick like a farmer’s joke
and twitch back at the crows.


Thanks to Joyce for cooking up all these delights for us today! And you'll get a chance to look at this post tomorrow and maybe for a few days after, because Sam and I have something to share with the class: we're moving Down the Hill to Diamond Springs, which is just outside of Placerville. Today, in fact. TODAY! Very soon after I write this—VERY soon—the computers will get unplugged and packed up and schlepped down the freeway, along with our little Chibi and his toys and our toys and boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes... (The only thing I can't find boxes to fit is my anxiety, but of course that's nothing new.)

But even our moving doesn't let you off the hook. We still have a Seed of the Week, even though this isn't Tuesday: One Step Ahead of the Sheriff. What keeps you on the run? Health issues? Legal ones, or money? The search for the perfect mate? And our "Form to Fiddle With" this week is the Nonet; see the green board at the right of this, and check out Joyce's example in the LittleNip below. Send your anxious musings to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 94726; as far as Medusa is concerned, her addresses haven't changed. And she should be up and running again in a few days. (The Cable Guy is scheduled for Tuesday; keep your fingers crossed.)


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

Legend says an ancient golden fish
survives in the icy moonlight
of winter in a lake as
wide and deep as lost time
where it still searches
for another
as golden
and as

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)


—Medusa (who is On The Road Again, dang it)

 Rock (With Blue)
—Photo by Joyce Odam