Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toughing It Out

—Photo by Joyce Odam

          (For A.M.)
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Susy with frosty freeze
is as happy as she will ever be.
The gleaming ice cream
twirled upon the cone
is the moment’s desire.

The hamburger
in the small white sack
is dessert.
She will waste that later.

Susy believes it still is summer.
October holds her in its
moody sunshine,
wrapping its loose-sleeved winds
around her like arms.

But Susy is
as unholdable
as four years can make her, twirling
in golden circles toward the car,
taking her time,
her frosty freeze held out
to the licking air.


—Joyce Odam

In the dark are other darks—luminous
and round—hollow and deep— ringed
with full moons and the echo of dogs.

The lure of late movies on TV.
The sleep of no sleep.
All the ache and buzz of night thoughts.

The turning of time
which is desolate and round
on its one-way clock.

The repetition and persistence
of the days.  The whistle that
will not reach to hush the barking.

And the other who is not asleep in
the house but roams about in the
gradual under-sound of other sound,

well past the October midnight
which is still summer—
well past all that is empty and unfound.


—Joyce Odam
We are sent to kill each other but we fall in love. Whatever is wrong between us is confessed and forgiven, though we have nothing to confess; though there is nothing to be forgiven.

             I leave a trail for you to follow. It is an ambush. You dare not trust me. I dare not warn you. Nothing is changed between us. We are old fashioned, used to our old methods which others love about us. We are always The Entertainment. Tonight we are summoned again for our sadness.

            (based on A Girl at the Window in 
            Winter, 1931 by Alexander Deineka,
            The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
—Joyce Odam

What holds her there,
looking out at the night
with such patience and calm?

It is her dream:
the white trees in the moonlight,
the white bench for the ghosts
who watch her as she watches them;

it is the white outline
of the small dog asleep at her feet;
it is her white shoes and socks
making an iridescence in the room,

her arms folded against interruption.
A patch of snow falls
from the branch of the smallest tree;
a white bird

startles and sends forth
a song of sadness and warning.
She listens without surprise;
it is what she has been waiting for.

Now she can let herself waken
and nothing will have harmed her,
not even her imagination.


—Joyce Odam
The first folding is the body bent into sleep. A tangled sheet wraps around and crumples against his face and under his gracefully bent arm. His face nuzzles deep. What is valuable here are the old perspectives of roundness—how everything curves into everything else—how light is descending, as only slow light can descend—forming itself around the child until he shines with the contrasting properties of light—as light stares into every crease and shadow and repeats his stillness. And in the smallness of sleep, he becomes the subject of sleep and light which conspire to examine him and hold sleep’s time in abeyance and touch his breathing. Something else joins the study, circling itself around, and a sigh is felt in the intense and gathering hold of silence. He shifts a bit and pulls the blanket-sheet tighter around him and regains the power of his life—so precarious, and so deliberately measured.


       (For A.M.)
—Joyce Odam

For lunch today
we had tuna
with lots of mayonnaise
two kinds of olives
and oranges cut in wedges.

I drank milk.
You drank wine.

Later we walked
three miles through October.
At each fence
horses walked with us.
We took pictures of each other.

“This will be the third day,”
I said
about drinking.

“I’m proud of you,”
you said.

When I got home
I had a can of beer
three whiskeys
and fell asleep
beneath a blanket on the floor
where I shivered.

Today's LittleNip:
Many people want to be a poet but not tough it out like one.
—B.Z. Niditch
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poetry and pix, and to B.Z. Niditch for the LittleNip. Here's hoping B.Z. is safe, back there on the stormy Eastern Seaboard in Brookline, Massachusetts, as well as all of our other many SnakePals back there.

Our Seed of the Week is The Perfect Storm. Weather? Visit from the in-laws? Or just the end of a bad day at work? Tell us about The Perfect Storm, that confluence of gnarly circumstances, and send it to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though—or take advantage of our N-SOWS or the new SOW-PIX feature in the green board on the right.


—Photo by Joyce Odam