Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the Tiny Room of Our Survival

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


Like this is some thrill made of cloth,
like an urge to touch—sensation of soft,

like satin used to be
on Jean Harlow, say, before Marilyn
and in the light—oh, perfect

movie-light—how you could move
under satin and become beautiful,
and someone would

love you no matter what your reality
—someone would hold you
and become satin, too,

and you would dance together—
in the mirror where a far-off music

played your favorite song
that made you weep,
and the room would be soft with shadow-light

and the doors would seal
and the ceiling fan turn on
to a starry sky that revolved

and threw its shards of light across the floor
and you would release the song
from a heart that never broke.



Late summer.
Sundown. A long empty beach.
Thinning cries of gulls.
Slow shushing of the waves
—only my footprints on the gray,
wet sand. I am singing to myself.

My memory house is somewhere
up ahead with all its lights on,
but I am not late. 

The waves rush up, and back,
leaving small tickles of foam
and gold flecks on my feet.
The slow, circling gulls
scold my presence.
But I do not hurry, or mind
their scolding. This is my time
to own all this—even them.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)


Let us be melancholy together.
We are so poor, with our
serious dance and deepest stares

into the shadowed mirrors of each other.
Let us say love with a particular
meaning. We are so sure

of destiny and fate—merged
into some dim happiness.
We are not meant

for sorrow, our favorite word,
polished with our tears. And so
we dance in a small circle,

in the tiny room of our survival,
the window, rained shut,
and the hours fading into morning.



now when he sits across the table from you
in the red velvet lounge
he looks around the room to find out
if he is important you are telling him,
look, I have this rose
growing in my stomach like a
child its thorn is killing me

um hum, he smiles,
right at you
since he thinks that that blonde is watching
and you tell him about the way
the black leopard you have brought
keeps tangling its ribbon under your chair
and that its gold purring
is driving you up the wall
since you
cannot stand purring
and he nods his ripply gold smile
and purrs yes at you

and you tell him you have brought
poison to put in his soup
and he throws back his head
so his favorite laugh can tickle the room
and you die a small regret
right there in front of him
to make your point
and he looks at you wise and says, really?


Today's LittleNip:



let us play with our egos.

I’ll go first.


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam's poetic delights in the Kitchen today! Joyce's poems often have a shadow of dread as their underpinnings; let our Seed of the Week be A Shadow of Dread. Tell us about when those shadows appear for you: early morning, before the sun comes up? Late at night? Deep in the woods, or out in city traffic? Send us whatever your muse comes up with at kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline for SOWs—and don't be shy about photos and artwork, either!