Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Poet-Mirror

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


Available in stone,
this warp,
this pure intention,

my life in the mirror,
changing as I change,
this daydream made of mind-want,

this day that is about gone:
the sunset—
the long line of sleep—

the complication of dream-tangles.
Oh, that I want it—
want all its anger and danger—

its little pools of hope
that I stare into.
How else do I get through

one after another tyranny
of mind-maps?—
how else shall I regard you

with my glass heart and sharp eyes?—
you are my own, as I am yours
in our singular existence.



In this darkened room—right above the neon
sign of the downstairs café—she could lie
across the bed in front of the window to watch
the people pass back and forth. She liked the
secrecy of this.

She could lie there with no clothes on and feel
the neon sign blink on and off of her, the
reality of herself in her inbetweenness, the
sharp or muffled voices rising up to her—their
passing silences.

She could pull the curtain back, or let it hang
between her and the neon blinking over her,
until she too was neon-patterned, transformed
by the summer night of this flaring room.

And sometimes she would hold the curtain to
her face, like a lacy mask, and look through it
to the oblivious people—safe  from  them at
her high window, her one room of interim 
belonging—from where she would go, one
way or another—but not now know of it.

I tell you this because I just remembered
it—and I write of this outside of
myself—separate and without reunion.


I am a wall with no pictures. Mirrors
enter me and weep for their lost identities.

Great rooms of complexity
surround me.

All my edges are as thin as water.
I slip through them into depths of drowning.

I paint screams upon my silence;
I utter myself from all directions.

Nothing hears.
Day by day more of me disappears.

I am the cruel center of myself.
I forgive no one,

though beggars come by with golden fingers
and stroke my arm.



Every day I feel myself

the way I fit myself

the way the wall mirror
grows sad     then resigned

the way light holds me
and then darkness

and I am woven
threads of detail

a regular

on an opposite wall
my earlier self

fading into
the opposing mirror


There is
such a
such a
in me—
I do not know myself.



I thought it was the night, but it was only
the very late way
words stood in the way of clarity.

So much went by me that I should have
caught: the innuendo, the smirk,
the sarcastic line I laughed at.

I’m not cut out for complexity.
Everyone went home drunk.
I teetered at the door

of maudlin goodnights,
vowing love to everyone,
and meaning it for awhile.

Of course I love them—
and myself—
my tipsy self, grown sober

in the late night mirrors
that do not look back at me.
I hope the celebration was enough

to last till the next reunion
of all who spend their needs on each other,
each with a deeper loneliness.


I passed through the gray cities. Left my name
in the passing. Forgot myself there.

One by one I left my mementos—lost them to
moving—to haste—to need that outgrew them.

Fragments of places remain—a room here—
a hall there—a high and scary hotel transom.

The bird of childhood was swift. I ran to keep up,
over the escaping ground. The bird disappeared.

I was one of many mirrors. I watched my faces
change and the way my eyes studied my eyes.

The sand pile lessens. Soon I will find my toy,
lost to the voice of my hurrying mother.

Echoes roam the rooms, later and later, repeating
themselves for my articulate interpretation.

Somehow the endings are never right, like this story
—revised beyond fact—that inaccurate data.


Today's LittleNip:


Though I am
all poem,
words fall through me.

Though I am
a net,
I cannot catch them all.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix, and congratulations to her on winning the Pegasus Award from Calif. Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. This is the third time that Joyce has won this award—the only person ever to do so. Way to go, Joycey!

Thursday is May Day! Our new Seed of the Week is My Secret Garden. Send poems, photos, artwork on this or any other subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs, though.