Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Living Inside the Bell

Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam

and the dancers lift
their little legs

high in their huge costumes
being clown dancers

and the music dances them that way
cute and funny

a jerky spotlight
follows them

their satin costumes shine
they leap like elves

then grinning
turn and bow

have praise for them
they do not dance that well

(first pub. in Poetalk, 1995)


—Joyce Odam, Sacramento  

Today she leaves the sun shining
against the afternoon wall
to go inside.

But strangely
she leaves the door open
behind her.

A window guards the dark,
its stare
impersonal as hers.

The rooms let the shadows in.
Her cherished figurines animate
on the mantle.

Beyond this, it all blurs,
something she wants to remember,
some need that wishing has not freed. 


—Joyce Odam

The clown in his fourth desire
saw no reason to take offense at the world.

Love was his desire.
He performed only for her.

He made himself into a fool
and she laughed.

If he took off his costume and makeup,
she would not know him.

He was destined to be what she believed.
He perfected himself and she grew bored.

 —Photo by Joyce Odam



—Joyce Odam


I see me

upside down
in gray water

a clown
a-drown in teeter of self
precarious once again

as chance holds me
within a camera

goes decision
and I exist

as only proof requires
a candid photograph
I smile in the sun

closing eyes
before you see me

(first pub. in Senior Magazine, 2010)


(After "Unscheduled Appointments"
                  by Gayle Ellen Harvey)
—Joyce Odam

They cancel their little deaths
to matters of no importance—various
and thin—like ghosts, or shadows—

like those sounds they think they hear
in morning quiet after nights of vague
celebration—as weary as repetition.

Already they blur into voices that regret
dead loves with that humor they save for
sadness.  Drunkenness gives them mercy.

No wonder they love—badly, or wrongly,
deceptively complex, what they need
for the moment—or lifetime. Later they

will elaborate on this—with reverence, even,
going over the broken memories—detail
by detail—until everything falls apart or fits.

—Joyce Odam

Living inside the bell

we have become afraid of sound.
We pray for silence.
The dimension of the bell
is all we know.

Somehow, though,
the times it rang
were the best times of all;
loud celebration times
when dogs howled and we sang,
when the very shadows
rolled and rolled
past the upturning edges.

I don’t know
we live here.

(first pub. in View Magazine, 1974)


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine fare!

Friday the 13th is coming, so, for our Seed of the Week, let's tackle Lady Luck and see what we can talk her into, muse-wise. Do some poems (or art or photos) on the old bag and send your results to kathykieth@hotmail.com. If you get stuck, there's always Calliope's Closet, the FUCHSIA LINK at the top of this blog, with lots of hints, links, and springboards to get you started. All the Seeds of the Week we've done over the years are listed there, plus past Forms to Fiddle With—including, at the bottom of that page, forms that have been made up by our readers. Check it all out!


Today's LittleNip:

For a change, lady luck seemed to be smiling on me. Then again, maybe the fickle wench was just lulling me into a false sense of security while she reached for a rock.

—Timothy Zahn


—Photo by Joyce Odam