Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Music of Life

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


I remember mostly her blue eye shadow with the gold
flecks in it, her eyelashes catching bits of light like
remnants of tears, her face

turning on too-quickly with a shining laugh;
the way her hands gripped his arm when he signed
his autograph; the way he all but ignored her;

the way she still seemed young through her makeup,
dressed almost in costume for the gala affair
as he positioned through the crowd

and she moved at his side, flashing her bright eyes
at all the faces smiling past her.  I remember the blur
of conversation—words lost

in the din—everyone holding a paper cup
of wine, the way we talked through each other
and smiled and smiled to replace the scattered words;

how we kept drifting  away
toward the others who were made of the same façade;
how we finally all went in to applaud the speaker

and hear the poems and commemorate the affair
with our signed editions. Oh, what an anthology we were.
The room bristled with our attendance.

The room lights quivered with animation.
The room warmed us as we huddled in mutual admiration,
briefly famous to each other.


You all have foreign names, dear ghosts and never-met
friends of my imagined other lives, laden with mysterious
and curious endings, remembered later in full and partial
detail. The dark moviedom. Names significant with
foreignness—like the names I gave to paper dolls:
glamour names, movie after movie of my own pretending—
believable to the unrealities I live with now that I am old
and out of plots with nothing that can measure up.


         After "Composition VI" by Kandinsky
Music Canvas-I

Music of life, always unfinished,
always newly written, resounding
through instruments and notations,
through musician and listener,
blending and played once or always,
leaving its patterns in humming voices,
refining itself for recognition.

Music Canvas-II
Banjo, Harp, Moods, and Tones.
Wrung Colors that move like water
on a wet palette, stirred by
a blur of brush strokes,
creating surreal likeness of
whatever—mind closed—mind open,
swirling canvas of creation,
black borders—gold centers.

Music Canvas-III

A last we name this:
structure of,      structure of . . .
what shall we name it . . . ?


in the
of flowers—
angled and bent
in the most outrageous of
colors—made of garish light
and smearing.
I would be a poppy here
and a thistle there
I would not be invisible.
My eyes would have to be
found in one of my
distortions; my heart
would be hidden in one of my
depictions—cut open
and poured
into an old cup of beauty.
My twisted hands would
affirm their affection
for the poetry of
his deepest rage and holy feeling.
I would understand
our mutual interpretation.
I would suffer
his fame.
He would forget to sign his name.



It was a creature made of light, tame and beautiful.
It came to her hand but backed away when she
tried to touch it. She could almost name it, though
it made no sound and had no definite shape. Still
she recognized it as something that she loved and
used to own, though only in a book that she cherished
and had to return. It appeared to her now on the edge
of its existence. She wanted to save it as she always
had. It followed her for this.


How the winds speak when it is winter;
how they say my name through the walls,
carrying all their news in deep gray vowels.

How they do carry on through the long
loud hours, begging at the windows, saying
wild things with their hollow mouthings.

“t h e y  c o m e  f r o m  s o  f a r” …
they tell me….and  “l e t   u s   i n” …
and they promise and promise not to harm me,

And I grip through the fringe of my shawl
and make tea, and form no answers.
I cannot go with them again. I have outgrown

the clothing and the games.
The thin far animals from then
howl from the dangers and dare me to find them

But my great orange cat is asleep on my chair
and I must remain to stroke her
and hear her purr.  The old house shudders

and complains about this particular winter.
I lay soft pillows against the doors
and tell the hours not to answer.



I took Reality into my arms and said I loved
him, said, Dance with me. I held him for a long
moment and let him go. He was babbling and
weeping my name. I said I was sorry, though
I had done nothing but hold him. He said, Dance
with me. He said he loved me, but his lips were
not moving. His eyes were closed. I was holding
his shadow, which was inconsolable. I was
telling him lie after lie to make him love me. He
was holding me close enough not to break. I
could see the music through the glass. It was
sad and perfect. He warned the glass not to
take his reflection, that he was a blur, that I
should not watch him through wet eyes. The
glass shuddered with distortion. I was there
alone. He was the lie of my love, I wanted
his reality.


All those I have falsely loved
recede now with no guilt or contrition,
none falsely blamed—
only this moment of them,
briefly rekindled
then gone.

Not one of them
has a name
that belongs to this reunion.
Why do I mention this, is it only memory
or something not yet known—
reluctant to lose?


Today's LittleNip:

I took the ranting sorrow that you offered
and named it love. You wept.
You turned toward yourself with misery—
still mortal—still bereft.

My arms were not enough to hold such pain.
I offered you my own.
This, you accepted; something you could name.
We stood there, each alone.


—Medusa, thanking Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix, and noting that our new Seed of the Week takes a page from Star Trek and Mr. Spock: Frontiers. Not the final one, hopefully, but anything that is a frontier in your life—school? Marriage? Parenthood? Or maybe more global ones: space? Cures for disease? World peace? Send your poems and pix about this (or any other subject!) to to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadlines on SOWs.