Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Borrowed News

Fence with Tree-Shadow
—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

I think of times between other times,
between luck and despair, hope its enemy.

I think of times like that when time is wrong
and I can’t get out of my chair

to become relevant—when now is past—or about
to begin.  I am that tightly crushed within

time’s measurements that I cannot measure.
I am out of math or cleverness.

I am caught in dream’s mind.  If I run, I drown;
I’m in a stillness caught within a whirl.

Perplexed.  Unwound.  Where do I
pick up the beat of it all—get back on track—

wipe the dreaming mirror and find my self again
in the faceless glass.


—Joyce Odam

the new bird
in the old cage
is already
is expensive
does tricks
sly and winsome
his owners
to love him so much
so handsome and young
so healthy
so brilliantly colored
a glossy bird
with eyes that already
know who they are
who already is
learning the words
they choose
for him to learn
oh how
he fills the
loud emptiness
of the house
the way it was
before he came to them
or just lucky
and he looks out
over the new yard
with its tiny grave
and struts himself forward
into their lives



—Joyce Odam

ur silver cat sits looking for her mouse,
patiently stares toward the gleaming field,
until she turns to patient silhouette.

he closing darkness, hiding what it owns,
holds itself real  still: no breath of wind.
No twitch of fur.  No luck.  No sign of mouse.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine, 1997-98)

Torn Blue Canvas
—Photo by Joyce Odam

(based on "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri"
by George Caleb Bingham, American, 1808-1897) 
On smooth mirrored water the low boat glides,
doubling itself and its occupants—taking

the day lazy and long—a small black cat
leashed to the bow for luck—the rower

and the one who just leans and watches,
admiring the thought of themselves

—created by art: the red shirt of one,
and the blue shirt of the other—

a low fog misting, soon to involve them,
tame as a shadow—the black cat

staring down at itself in the staring water;
not even a ripple to show them

moving through golden fog toward
some shore, or deeper water, the paddle

inert in the rower's hand while a drifting
thought holds them immobile: the

featureless cat and its featureless double,
the boat turned upside down so the sky

might swallow the whole tableau
if it wanted to.  Nothing can drown here:

no room for a cry—the thought too shallow.


—Joyce Odam

How soon will the boat come for you?
You are such a small harbor;
maybe the boat will not find you.

Will it be a rowboat?
Will it have a sail?
Will it be a yacht?

You are such a poor person,
wearing mended clothes.
And you are not impatient.

All your life you wait,
bent in a looking position,
staring through the glitters

in the direction of the setting sun.
You will not see Luck coming,
until it gets dark.

And then it will be too late
to go sailing,
or rowing, or riding on a yacht.


—Joyce Odam

Today is not the day for luck.
For rage, perhaps;
for staring at the rain.

But today has come too swiftly,
on borrowed news, with static
and wet shoes.

And with today comes
those two proper sisters,
Grim and Lonely,

who sit
on my two chairs. I feed them
whiskey and dirty blues.

They blur and whisper.
The man I am holding
is half unholy—

the half I’m telling—
the other half
is heavy with mute clues.

Today is not
the day I choose
for dim remember.

The sisters are sleeping now:
I follow
the secret smile and meaning.

(first pub. in Riven, 2008)


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's delights! Friday the 13th is over (we have three this year!) and we're abandoning Lady Luck, our Seed of the Week for a new seed: a senryu by Sandoka, which is as follows: 

A lone figure
Back turned
Receding into the mist

See what you can do with this and send your images (maybe an imago?) to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though—scroll back up to Calliope's Closet in the FUCHSIA LINKS at the top for a stupendous load of past SOWs that might bring you fame, fortune, and happiness. 

We have a new Form to Fiddle With, too—one that Joyce brings to our attention in her little Brevities Mini-Chap called 16 More Short Poetry Forms. Today's LittleNip is her example of the Imago; see what you can do with that, too—and Calliope has a long list of other forms we've tackled in the past, most of which can be found on the Internet, particularly at shadowpoetry.com, along with examples.

This is a good place to point out that Joyce's Choice of Words Press has lots of little books and a whole set of bookmarks that demonstrate various poetic forms and examples of same. Contact her (and submit to her monthly Brevities, too) at choiceofwords@aol.com.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

They love—cautiously—afraid
to trust.  Or they love
completely—beyond reason, 
wanting more fire for
the passion and its ebbing—
the flaring coals they
keep stirring—for the embers,
and for the ashes.



—Photo by Joyce Odam