Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nurturing Our Demons

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


You who nurture your demons—
oh, you who nurture—nurture
your demons—what do you

expect from them—as pets—
nurtured from love into fear.
Into love? They are so huge now,

know you so well by now.
They even come to you
unsummoned, to roll about

in that old game of blame and
you explain, but they are

unrelenting— knowing they can
win at this, and you must let them.
They live such dusty lives—

in corners, in mental blockages,
in tiniest of reasons to return
to all your blameless broodings.


yes, before
you fall from your own eyes,
be more truthful
when you smile

do not keep bringing
the same quiet girl among us
in so many different bodies

she does not approve
of mortal laughter
she is too old for your tenderness

look how she holds the pages of our words
in frozen fingers
see how she looks at us
with unpoetic eyes



why can’t I get to you faster
how can I get out of
this slow motion
and reach you

you are living a whole
desperation before my eyes
and it takes me all that time
to begin one futile gesture

I want to be
what is needed of me
but I am so heavily caught
in slow motion


What is that medallion
you are wearing?

     A poison pendant.

What do you keep in it?


Who is the poison for?

     If you don’t
     love me enough,
     for you.

And if I love you as
much as I say I do?

     If you love me that
     much, then the poison
     is for me.



She would return
to who she was,
but he has a love
that fastens around her
in a mental web.

When she laughs now
it is because
it makes jewels of despair
for him to thread.
He loves her jewels.
He stands her naked before him
and drapes her in heavy necklaces
that falsely glitter
then bruises them against her.

She sings so that
dark birds
can fly from her mouth
and weave unhappiness in the air
with their blind flailing.
He loves her birds
that beat to death in the room.
He thinks she is
alive with endless singing.

He wilts her lips
with kisses.
And flowers flavor his tongue.
He holds his mouth against hers
till she
is sick with breathing.
One day she will kiss him
thorny and bitter,
with poisoned roses.


What are drawn to our sills
are unbearable birds
who eat our bread,
are error of leaves
gone astray in flight,
are disattached shadows
of all that passes.

What if they cut the window
with their diamond eyes,
the wine-hungry birds,
the poisonous leaves,
the thirsting forms
that reach for
our newly poured glasses.



A child comes dancing
out of the shadows;
its own darkness
leaving paths
full of fairy tales,
full of good,

and full of evil;
a white sky
breaks into different
and the child
must choose one of them
to die in.


I have marred the page with my pencil,
made a rude mark
and reached for an eraser.

Now there is flaw and rectification.
Now there is penance and smug solution.
How easily we repair our damages:

a pencil mark of carelessness—
a pen
would have been fatal.

But the page leaves a scar,
wears a smudge of reproof.
I put a bookmark there.

The bookmark is a stare. It knows I am guilty,
will not let me get past this point of reading.
How careless I have become.


Yes, it is for you I dream and waken—
the dream scattered into fragment parts,
half-remembered—the dark water of it,
the slippery rocks we struggle on,
the horse in danger;

what does the horse mean:
the eerie terrain of night,
the panic, the strangeness—the mental wall
of those whose mercy we beseech
who struggle near us in their own displacement;

and the edge that is always at the leaning,
the unsafe balance, the night caught
in the complicated landscape of the mind
relinquished to sleep—
the awful things that happen to it.

I awaken just in time again,
refusing to go back
to have to finish the danger—
it is all locked in place:

you still there—
waiting for my reentering,
the night-water sloshing against
the wet rocks—the horse
still dissolving into our inability to rescue it.


Today's LittleNip:


Here we are with all that we deplore—
this low-tide shore. A small impatient boat
creaks in the moonlight, like a metaphor:
Could we steal it? Could we simply float
away from lives that Fate so badly wrote
—change an ending? Could we still resist?
Just sail away—just sail away from this?


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's Kitchen cooking around the Seed of the Week: Toxic. Our new SOW is pertinent to the season: Wildfire. Is that a wildfire raging in your heart? Wildfires have their own profile, yes?—out of control, leaping over the lines we draw for them. Send your poems, photos, artwork about wildfire to kathykieth at hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs; let the wildfire of your muse have her way with you whenever she will...