Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Love is Too Sad For Keeping

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


In this century, I will be born.
I will be born knowing,

yet knowing not.
I will be old-fashioned


of an old nature,
then my own—

from influence of,
I will become.



I knocked on the door and heard the sound
go in and dwindle out.  I stood back

to listen and wait.  And only then
did I notice the bare wall standing

by itself.  It was only a wall—a façade—
painted that old-fashioned yellowish gray

with a crumbling relief of stone figures,
and through its windows I could see

the captured blue sky and clouds
and realized my error . . .

yet I knocked again
for I wanted to enter and see for myself.


It was a crossroad
  in a crossroad year.
    I was five. We
      always stopped
         awhile to watch
            the billboard
              with its train
                that moved like
                  magic in the
                    blue night air.

I always begged
  my father to stop
    when we passed
      that spot; and
        he always did
          so I could watch
             in sad-sweet
                  and believe
                    his lie:

He said
  that billboard
     train was mine
       and sat, unsmiling,
         in a silence that
           was his, while I
             sat gazing—it
                looked so real—
                  held there just like
                    a wound toy going
                      nowhere in the dark.


(After "The Sleeper" by Tamara de Lampicka)
Surround yourself with words,
like love—like old desire—

like scent of incense: Shalimar,
White Rose, Russian Musk.

Prepare the mirror and the look:
The histories remain and tempt.

There is the story, the unchanged
plot—the taunting rival,

all the doubt. And which of you
will glean the trance of time

for all that truly is
—or nearly was.

Why not reclaim, oh faded beauty,
what you see—why not?


These are the longings I send you,
full of elaborate rages and dark pities
for myself.  I send you guilt for my

predicament—name you Savior,
letter after letter of me mailed to
your old address.  Why don’t you

answer?  I send these thoughts
so you will realize my sincerity.
I have never forgiven you

for my happiness.  I forgive you
now for my despair.  Love is
too sad for keeping; I wish to

return it to you—hardly the worse
for wear.  These love songs
are for your pillow.

You come back for me.
I am floating on a tangible shaft
of moonlight.  Slowly I turn

toward you, break into a shatter
of weeping, fall to the floor. 
You cannot repair me.


BLACK GOWN STUDY                    
(After "Homes for the Disembodied" by Mary Tuma)

Black dresses
in high-
ceiling to floor—
trailing into
each other like a path
of grief
made of tear-water.
Though bodiless,
a sympathy can be felt
for them, hanging so starkly
and sheer
as if a message
of confession:
gowns of surrender;
gowns of release
from all their vanities
and fatal loves.
No breeze
disturbs them
in this bright gallery.
They hang as a study of
silence—wearing dust and light
like penance (though one dress turns
at this—upon its hanger—and a shudder is
felt—for what can this mean unless a way to disagree).

(After "A curia, 1963" by Robert Cremean)

What are they but depictions of desire,
reduced to abstract objects of perfection,
multi-faced from one—ideal and idolized.

That they are featureless is for the numbness
of the mind; their curves
are lyrical—half nude—half garbed,

in bits of fashion and design: hats,
and no hats,
circles of light highlighting here and there.

Windows protect them. Light animates
their stillness. They face outward into stares.
Who loves them this way— little balloons

of thought, a-float in multiple discussion.
What holds them so perfected there,
if not your whetted admiration?



they went then
to the
skyview roof
of the hotel
just to
top off
the excitement
of the evening
so trusting of
each other
and giddy with
intensity of
rapport and then
in unison
fell off while
still continuing
their animated
politely not
looking in windows
on the way down


the old echoes muffle
and expire
with no light
and no sound waves
to carry them forever,
where memory
is only made
of failure to remember,
created out of all
our eloquence
and exuberance;
the stillness of this place
is heavy with gravity.
It settles and spreads
and only says listen
in a fading voice . . .
and true to our loneliness
we have learned to listen
to the silences,
as if they were the love.


Today's LittleNip:


that drift of memory
catching on snags of thought

dissolving in
thought’s intensity

no longer what it was
no longer true

something to lose
the way it loses you


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine poems and pix, and a note that the new Poet Laureate Park is now completed; photos by Trina Drotar are on view at Medusa's Facebook page. Be sure to click on each one for commentary by Trina.

Our new Seed of the Week is Mysteries of Spring. Send your poems, photos and artwork about those mysteries to kathykieth@hotmail.com; no deadline on SOWs.