Tuesday, October 29, 2013


—Poems and Photos by 
Joyce Odam


We wait for someone to ignite
our loves. Why is this so? Are we
nothing until another proves our worth?

How can we answer what is unknown—
it has not yet been revealed?
We are poor examples.

The muse is a myth, but she holds you
in her power. You can feel the words begin.
But she falters, forgetting what comes next?

Why is this a problem of memory, a simple
lapse of self forgetting self?  No mirror
answers or agrees with the questions.

Questions are for amnesia,
which is another life,



You see these scars, the way they dramatize
my beauty and my age, the way they shine
against the softest light when I implore
toward all those who stare—who will believe
what they believe of scars?  I can’t explain.
I simply woke one year and they were there,
all healed, but sensitive to certain touch,
the way they ache when I am cold, or scared,
as if some memory still works its way
toward the obvious—or better yet—
the lurid gossip of some history

that some suppose.  I simply own these scars.
Whatever life inflicts is what they mean—
whatever I have suffered or suppressed—
or given up as sacrifice—or turned
away from some destruction that I sought
when I betrayed myself—oh, long ago
before my mirror pulled against my life—
though not with vanity, but with some truth
of having learned what one can never learn
except for scars.  I’m not ashamed—or proud;
I simply own them.  How they mesmerize

my staring when I study them and wonder
why I never noticed them before.
What scars? What scars? You ask. What scars? Why these,
these long white marks that crisscross everywhere,
that raise and pucker—that never will lie smooth
beneath my eyes that see—my hands that touch—
these scars.  And you—now that you see them too,
you turn away.  Your hand recoils, your eyes
avert, and you have nothing more to say.
You wanted love.  You wanted truth.  And, yes,
you even wanted me—but not with scars.



What is it
we have forgotten
so we cannot praise it?

Did it not belong to us once?

Then let us praise our lack of it
to honor our endurance.
We must revise our needs.



though I want to know,

without clarity of meaning;
I want to know

in validation
for the concept agreement

of my intuitive sense
of language,

in the
range of complexity;

I want to know its otherness—
the new truth—

the distance

its variance of meaning
that never quite pins down what I ask.


shimmer and probe
what darkness hides

a face gone old
a blur of music

a rumor of




time that enlarges
with reason to be sad



We talk of shadow-stuff in the quiet where it
is blue, and where you use words I know, and
I use words back to you; and we are shadow-
stuff in the use of words and what they mean,
as is love, always in silhouette, back to the light,
using words, expression lost in the shadow that
love holds for everyone—oh, I know shadow-
stuff is all we have of life and love—don’t argue
this—I know it’s true, some words more so than
others—let us begin our conversation.



I’ve danced and played the fool
for men who danced the rule;

I followed their brief lead—
buttered their ego-feed.

But one just walked in rain
with me.      With him, I’ve lain.


                             Feel the artistry / moving
               through you / and be silent—Rumi

Impose your heart upon the silence,
what is beheld in thought and dreams—
the hope of doubt—and oh, the doubt of hope.

What fails
is something powerful and strained—
a shadow and a blow.

The art of understanding is beyond the mind
but not the heart—it’s in the silence—
not the blare of thought that so befuddles.

What is, that is not known?—mystery
its own—more powerful than clues
or any solving that will be.

Take up the trust again.
It helps you look where nothing is.
And helps you look again.


Today's LittleNip:

I’m October.
I’m moody.
I don’t know what I want.
I want it all.

(first pub. in
One Dog Press,
October, 1996)


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's tasty potpourri! The season is here: this week's Seed of the Week is Witchcraft. Ever had witchcraft performed on you? Seductive eyes, a shiny new car—there are lots of ways we can have spells cast on us, both good and bad, times when we wake up and say, What the heck just happened?? Tell us about those times and send the results to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs, though. Just let the muse cast a spell on you. To quote Joyce quoting Rumi: 

               Feel the artistry 
               moving through you 
               and be silent

Oh—and speaking of the season, head on over to Central Library tonight at 6:30 to hear the works of Edgar Allan Poe [somebody needs to tell The Sacramento Bee that Edgar's middle name is spelled A-l-l-a-n] read by Bob Stanley, Jeff Knorr, and John Allen Cann [Allen spelled with an e]. That's 828 I Street, Sacramento.