Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Naming Me Happiness

Asian Child with Frog
—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Come touch the night
with your day fingers,
and when you know,
pleasure my face
beneath your hand
that I
may never fear the dark
your touch
has quieted.

(first pub. in Signet, 1962)


(based on "The Swimming Hole" by Thomas Eakins)
—Joyce Odam

Six of them, in stillness and in motion,
in and out of the swimming hole,
the slow, slow day
perfect around them, time that is gone.

They are timeless. They are unaware
of this. They think of life as theirs,
no encumbrance, no place to fail, or die.
They yield themselves to the pleasure

of each other’s sameness, their nudity,
their separateness within
this closing hour. This is the only way
they can escape the rest of their lives.

This is a still of their existence—silent as
memory’s limitation, even the water-ripples
are silent around them, the sunlight
as it enters the green shadows.

—Photo by Joyce Odam

(based on "Charm" by Georgi Demirev)
—Joyce Odam

Dream that escapes into oblivion,
downhill into silence.

Slanted handwriting to explain what is there,
what is not.

Hanging, fragile, painted things—
images of what you imagine:

Gaiety in the Death Carnival.
Beckoned, you follow.

In the mirrors of one another.
Innocence. Blame.

In and out of flowing breezes.
Like paper. Like chiffon.

Trials of energy that fail.
Wave after wave of time, escaping.

Curtains. Many curtains. Butterfly dance
of pleasure. And then the waking:

the falling upward, climbing through—
through closed eyes, the mind surrendering.


—Joyce Odam

This is sweet—
this is sour.

One is fine grape—
one is mysterious lemon.
Both are true to the mouth
which responds with different pleasure
which gets hungry so often
which needs…which needs.

Do not starve the mouth.
It has no kiss to protect it.
Do not starve the mouth.

(first pub. in Celebration, 1987)


—Joyce Odam
(Hope is a thing with feathers.
                    —Emily Dickinson)

I find in sunshine what I need
and hardly stop to wonder
at why I need, or why I find
in such a simple pleasure

a moment of eternity
that rests upon a flower
and balances that part of me
that does not fit an hour,

where time is not akin to life
and life is but a moment—
and time a strange, elastic force
that has no ending to it.

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


Thanks, Joyce Odam, for today's dreamy delights, finishing up our talk of Unexpected Pleasures! There is a July 4th photo over in the green board at the right; see what you can make of it for our new Seed of the Week. Medusa tries to keep an even hand about political matters, but it seems like this country is almost as divided these days as it was in the '60's (yes, I was there). Or maybe you'd rather write about backyard bar-b-q's and fireworks of various sorts. Anyway, today's SOW is a photo.  

Two of our poets will be reading in the Bay Area this weekend: Bill Gainer will be reading twice, and Taylor Graham will be reading in Crockett. Check our b-board for details.

Cynthia Linville writes that the latest issue of Sacramento's convergence is out: go to www.convergence-journal.com/summer12 and check for work by Cezarija Abartis, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, Michael D. Brown, Daniel Davis, Frank Dixon Graham, Carl James Grindley, Dallas Harder, Dianna Henning, Erren Geraud Kelly, Tyler King, J. Alan Nelson, Timothy Pilgrim, Fabio Sassi, Tom Trippe and Robert Wooten.

I hope you’ve had a chance to scroll down our blue board over at the right of this lately; I’ve made some changes, checked the links—generally cleaned it up for your viewing pleasure. Let me know if I’ve missed anything.

And Medusa’s inner life is cleaned up—that is, the “inner pages” that are listed over there on the green board under SNAKE ON A ROD have also been refurbed. Check ‘em out! (Extra credit if you can find my driver's license photo.) I could use some help with the on-going reading series—I suspect some have fizzled and others have popped up—and the Book page. I erased everything that was listed on there in hopes of starting afresh. Let me know about your latest book (and links to its reviews) and it’ll go in there, since I’ve removed the books and reviews from the blue board.


Today's LittleNip:

  —Joyce Odam

My mother named me happiness.
Shall I believe her?

Time passes through me
like poured water.

Gold fastens to my sand.
I gleam with pleasure.

(first pub. in Poetalk, 1993)



Child Angel with Shell
—Photo by Joyce Odam