Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Like An Addiction

 —Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


their subtle
their perfect size
and roundness.
(Aslant of perfect
for the word’s sake).

How they
unusual and singular
So many candy-fans
have no taste for them.
(I’m glad.)

It makes me part of
a minority—
epicurean and selective.
Halloween treat-bags always got me
plenty of black jelly beans
from the generosity of children.



The daughter of the mad woman
is an arm-wrestler.
She gives away boxes of candy
to visitors who
come to test her strength
against their own.

She wins, of course.

She is the child of brilliance
and pain,
the one who knows how to be
the one who has inherited
all this talent from her mother.

(first pub. in Small Press News, 1988)



Sweet cups of brimming light—and should we drink
from all the goblet-flowers of this place,
would we, like Alice,  grow in size—or shrink—
lose our senses—feel ourselves erase . . . ?
Oh, careful one, how pale you turn to think
I’d poison you by urging you to taste  
such heady light—intoxicate your soul—
risk some addiction you could not control.

(first pub. in Hidden Oak, 2003)



Old as children, they
come touching at all my candy,
leaving uneaten bruises upon
my fruit and spilling the
cheap fermenting wine of Sunday.

They sit close together in one
chair, his long beard greying
into her long blue hair.

She wears a flea market coat of
real fur.  He wears a ruined hat.
They are dressed for winter.

He tells her
what to do with her mind.
She adores
and gives him the purest sighs
while he looks at her
in his brooding manner.

And they cry when I laugh
and they laugh when I cry.
They are restless and lonely,
afraid to go
and unwilling to stay
where the rooms are long and
the hours are many.

(first pub. in Chaminade Literary Review, 1991)

     (after “Tree Rhythm” – Klee)

lollipop trees dot the landscape
a child’s depiction\
dimensionless with simplicity
the far ones           the same size
as the ones in the foreground
round-topped      with trunks
straight as arms and legs of
stick-figure people going
tilt…     tilt…
over rolling ground-lines
no birds     no sky
this orchard is too abstract
has no relative significance
to the logic of
the mind’s perspective
is simply      there
plunk…   plunk…
artless     but somehow art
each round tree
leaning at a slightly
different angle
about to fall     or dance
strut…   strut…
to a child’s horizon
happy as candy


(in amphibrach dimeter)

She’s smiling, she’s smiling.
Best watch her, she’s smiling.
Her eyes are not turning
away from your face; and

she seems to be touching
the sleeve of your sweater—
as if to delay you.
You’ve waited too long now.

You find her beguiling.
She offers a drink, and
you take it—a teacup,
too tiny and fragile,

with rosebuds—real china.
It’s empty. (You try not
to spill it.) She pours you
another, and offers

a candy. She chatters
and chatters, insisting
you answer the same way—

to afternoon tea that
she pours, and you share
with Teddy, the Bear, and
the doll named Marie.



I ate my life like a starvation.
It was not enough.

I was hungry for sorrow.
It was good.

Now hunger lives in me
like an addiction.

I taste the edges of tomorrow
and am obese with yearning.

(first pub. in Thorny Locust, 2007)



Yes, it is true. I am in the loss—spaced far
between it; my hands cannot find the edge.
I housekeep, but the dust wins. Balances
surround me. I accept my gravity, fall
through the television where the silence is.
I reward myself with candy, stuffed in
my starving mouth. I ignore the bottle—
my last strength, drown among cups of
coffee and diet Pepsi. I cannot mend the
holes in my love, though I praise it with
birds that can sing. Ah, season, full of the
right weather, fill me with maps.


Today's LittleNip:


I’m even now—my life and I in rhyme—
I’ve climbed life’s lonely mountain. What a climb.
My birth and death lie balanced on the scale.
I’ve satisfied the gods that gave me time.

(first pub. in
Poets’ Forum Magazine, 2003)


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's photos and Seed of the Week poems that are like jelly beans—you can't eat just one! Let's take our new SOW from her, too: Like An Addiction. What is it that you can't leave alone? Candy? Love? Writing? Send us your thoughts about those things to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs.