Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dreamer on the Shore of Dreaming

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento

        (After "Empire of Dreams" by Charles Simic)
Wakings are paragraphs, page-turnings.
Always ‘what next’…

Wantings are hollow at both ends.
Never filled.
Like hungers.  Like answers.

Truth is like time.
Hard to reach  / grasp / explain.

Let us not talk about sleep.
Let us not talk about dreams.
In this dream—

the experience is urgent—
has yet to get through to the dreamer
who will not allow the knowing.


those divisions of unreality
when time is a trickle
down a window, like rain,
but soundless, like shadow.

I stare through the glass
and note how moisture and stillness
are the same—
as long as I do not look away

into the vertigo—that plane of being
out of scale in the mind,
or a letting-go
of free fall.

Something always claims
a position of belief
to defy the indisputable
with a laugh to disarm. 

Credibility is forfeit—
accusation always bears
more weight than innocence 
on which to base belief in belief. 

      (After “…the incision of distance”
             by Shaun T. Griffin)

. . . sweet lines of distance
river away
slow and meaningful
panels of air divide
and separate
into breathing areas
the black sky holds its
darkness—its cold
emptiness—no moon

landscapes like this
are for dreams
ever-shaping and changing
. . . slow and meaningful,
sweet lines of distance
that river away . . . .

        (After "Four Panels: Nude and Seated Figure"
                                             by Matisse)

There is a slight shift
in the four panels of two nudes—
one sleeping—the other held
in the four positions of waiting,

the dream passing between them
until they reunite as one—
the dreamer
and the dream,

outside the sleep of the other,
her face in trance—
leaning against
the darkness that is the sleep.

In the fourth phase,
the dreamed one rouses—
struggling against the abrupt distortion
of the dreamer about to waken.


It is not so much
that sleep is mad
with its pretending death, but O
that old activity of dream
it takes me through.
All I abhor
when half-awake with my gray living,
all that my secret wile
is guilty of,
it makes me do.

I commit my thoughts
to some bizarre disgrace.
I love beyond all real participation
in that game,
with love a whimper
hushing to an ecstasy.
A strange composite
of the never-found and almost found
fills my soul with eroticism
deep as the true religion
that I yet would find.

Alone and held
in the web-like center of sensation
I feel the motion of a sound
that spirals down,
my body hypnotized
and heavy on the bed;
and what equals it
begins in me—
magnetic-senses, metaphor
of opposites that best decipher
me with what I seem.

A dark, eternal bird-Soul
whispers back from time,
finding my heaviness,
miraculous-winged in me
and lifting.
I fly that childhood dream again,
never arriving,
only the silent joy of going,
safe in the darkness
humming in my mind.

Betrayed and fallen,
lost in the country of myself,
I walk along dark water,
thin breath high in my throat,
the water softly lapping. I desire
that swimming, though
this water is my unmet fear.
I weep the edge of sleep,
dreamer on the shore of dreaming.

(first pub. in Nightshade, 1967)


Today's LittleNip:


I go toward myself in the role of dreamer. I float into
the surrealism of sleep. Moving deeper and deeper, I
am everyone I meet. The pullings behind me fail and
let go. I am my own completion, but now I am without
voice or body. I wake, weeping.


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's cuisine, and a note that this week's Seed of the Week is That Woman Selling Carnations. What do you know about her, or those customers she deals with? Send your poems, photos, and artwork about this or any other subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline on SOWs, though.