Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Where the Wild Goose Goes

—Photo by Joyce Odam


(based on Erte’s Fashion Designs, illustrations
from Harper’s Bazaar, l9l8-l932)

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento     

In dimensionless black and white
the women come onto the stage
in their designer dresses;
how fashionable they are—
sophisticated ladies
who know how to move
in languorous disdain
under spotlights of admiration.
One of them is my mother—
or maybe
she only looks like my mother,
but taller.
The women inter-weave
and refuse to smile.
They wear hats with feathers,
and long graceful beads,
and their hands
are useless but beautiful.
My mother
looks past me
to some far off mirror.
The mirror smiles,
but she keeps
a composed expression.
Her eyes cloud
with a look I have seen before.
I remember her like this
from a distance too far to cross.
I want to speak to her,
but she is looking beyond me,
through the mirror
which closes up behind me.
I feel transparent.
I cannot hold her image any longer.

(first pub. in The Listening Eye, 1998)  


—Joyce Odam

closet full of dusty clothes
silver-veined dresses
squashed party wear
stained lace and fur
a leopard coat and hat
some jewels missing
high-heels lined up
behind the slippers

on the dresser a jewel box
and perfume bottles
all shoved back
and in the grimy mirror
in diligent reflection,
in rows and rows,
white plastic vials
of prescriptions

 —Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam
I stole the powder, wore the beads,
tried on the gowns and posed
for my emerging beauty—

watched the mirror love me
while I found my new dimension,
alone at her dresser, with her things—

all touched and rearranged,
while she was off somewhere,
unmindful of my forbiddance—

overstepping into her essence
with my own—to be the
echo of my mother, role model, rival. 


(after The Wall of Life, 1959 –George Constant)
—Joyce Odam

As in my early time, the wall of life seemed
made of colored stones, divided by lines of
white—like those pretty stones stuck on the
wall of a house I used to pass.  I’d stand there

trying to pick them off the corner of the wall
to keep for treasure. Today I thought I saw
that childhood wall again in the light of an
older day—this time it glowed—the stones

like jewels, the painted light hitting them
just right, patterned together in deliberate
design: the blue ones interlocked—as if
made of hands guarding a secret doorway.

I wanted to enter…   see what was behind…


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

I wear black beads in winter.
Am I sad?

I wear the black of ceremony,
dimensionless and closed,

a privacy—
a sentimental flaw—

or just a grief,
too long refused.


Thanks to Joyce Odam for today's tasty talk of Mom's Jewelry Box, last week's Seed of the Week!

Where does the wild goose go? Write about it for our Seed of the Week (here's a link to the lyrics: www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/laine-frankie/cry-of-the-wild-goose-12554.html)  and send your poetic travels to kathykieth@hotmail.com



—Photo by Joyce Odam