Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All These Temptations

Paisley Curtain
—Photo by Joyce Odam

(after Cover Design from The Savoy, No. 5 
by Aubrey Beardsley)
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

whispering to her
in the twilight garden, holding her
to the intensity of his eyes

bending closer to her
while she goes pale and
follows the sincere angle of his

hand gesturing out to emphasize
and she becomes
wrapped in the cloying shadow of

his words, and presses, presses
into the disappearing tree
that presses back and swallows

every detail of her disbelief
enveloping her until she is one with it
and the secret he tells

and the ancient gargoyle
on the old stone wall
seems to agree…seems to agree…

its old stone face contorted
in a look of sculptured cruelty—
or maybe just the look that

the failing light puts there a moment
while its open mouth
and intense scowl seem

to contort in gleeful mockery
and warn away
a distant, maternal column-figure

shining like a last thin shaft of light
across a closing moat of water
while he, still holding her to his

soft insinuations,
until she is seduced by all those words.


—Joyce Odam

This dying emotion
that has so much trouble

your hands at its throat

your lips on its lips,
its terrible kiss—

life-saving it.
What does it matter,

the words that are said,
as if caring?

All it needs now
is the promise

you withhold.
And you tell it lies

in the guise of sincerity.
Yes, what about love . . . ?


—Joyce Odam

Forgiveness is just a word
like the others.
All the sins delivered to the just-born
are to be forgiven.
What is beyond comprehension
must be forgiven.
Mystery has many meanings—each one
surmised to be the one and only.
Thus, do not forgive me. What else
is there to know that can be lived with?
I speak in this voice because it’s the one
I have thought of as my own.
All these temptations… all these denials…


—Joyce Odam

This dawn, the old mockingbird—
I know he was an old bird
for his song was very rich and long

made of pure melancholy
and mad joy in the same true notes—

this dawn of this laden day
he filled the brimming sky
that he knew so well with his deep singing.


Thanks to Joyce Odam for her sinfully delicious poems, closing off this week's Seed of the Week, The Wages of Sin. Our new SOW comes from Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz) of Sacramento: "The Best Gears of My Life”, to commemorate those times of teamwork when you really connected with someone else toward a common goal. Send your poems about the times when alliances DID work to kathykieth@hotmail.com—or let your muse run free over any of our SOWs from the past; those are listed in Calliope's Closet under the Snake on a Rod in the green box at the right of this column.

Davis Poet Laureate Allegra Silberstein reminds us that Davis has quite a few poetry activities happening in the next few weeks:

•••February 29, 7pm: Phillip Larrea will be reading at the Woodland Public Library (250 1st St.), Woodland, inaugurating a new poetry series there called Inspiring Words. Info: jessicakristie.com/inspiring-words-poetry-in-woodland

•••March 1, 8pm: Poetry Night Reading Series in Davis presents Christopher Sindt, Kitty Liang plus open mic. John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St., Davis. Host: Andy Jones.

•••March 5, 7:30pm: Poets from the Davis Poetry Anthology, Entering, will be reading at the Sacramento Poetry Center located at 25th and R, Sac.

•••March 7, 7:30pm: Trina Drotor and Sandy Thomas will be reading at Logos Books in Davis, 513 Second St.

•••March 16, 7:30pm: The Other Voice in Davis presents Sibilla Hershey, Ann Privateer plus open mic. Unitarian Universalist Church, 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis.

As always, watch our blue board for details about these and other poetphernalia in the NorCal area.


Today's LittleNip: 

EDGY (after Taylor Graham's syllabic poem)
—Joyce Odam

as night-shadow,
innocent startle of
lust walking at midnight,
waiting for you to appear
as love.



Leaf Fossils
—Photo by Joyce Odam