Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Dark Listens

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento


I am pale beginning
feel me now
reveal my new energy
my old sorrow-sign
my curse gone
spiritual force
and I, as center,
sending the old shadow

(first pub. in Aquarian Dream, 1996)


I will tell you lies you will not believe.
I will make you love me
beyond your intention.

I will haunt you with regret,
for I will leave you

I am the one who will destroy you,
but you will not remember me for that.
You will remember me for the dance,

for the sunlight,
for the wine. 
You will remember me for the lies

which are what you wanted to hear.
I will promise.
I will look at you with love,

and your eyes will surrender.
The jasmine-scented night
will suffocate you with its sweetness.

You will weep and wonder why you suffer.
I will dry your tears
with a scented handkerchief.
Years will follow, empty and long.
You’ll grasp at memory’s soft threads,
rework the tapestry and tell yourself the lie:

I was your love, your lost and only love.
This is how it was, and this is why
you stay so faithful to the memory.


I put on red slash
of mouth

somebody else’s lipstick
left here

I and my morning eyes
survey the damage

terrible smile

a drowned moth
floats upon the wine

to start the day

a good

I put the
funeral glass away

I surprise myself
with this small energy

“never again”
(the first line of a song)

I sing it
all that day


         After “Going” by W.S. Merwin
So far away—the dignity of the word—
the departing into some unknown factor,

the felicity to love and its arguments—
the one staying, feeling the same meaning

of the word—with its forever—its never,
or its someday. The wave, the wave back

What need provides is a language to use,
or misuse, albeit foreign to someone—

somewhere— some other being of place,
a round, far place—or nowhere 

but in mind, in curiosity. There is always
somewhere else, or here, that is meant

to protect—for the love—for the known,
which begins another word.


the hailstones
through the screen door
we hug at the doorway, hello,
we hug at the doorway,
we never reach
the rainbow      oh loss
oh loss
wanting what I want
extent of yearning
humility of acceptance
watching the train
rumble by,
reading the graffiti
in abeyance
the time between our last visit
and the next
travel this way
travel that way
way is everywhere
all night
the shadows speak to one another
the dark listens


A woman stands in familiar blue light;
familiarly a mirror addresses her,
creating a double.

Then a third woman appears, turned away
from the two—as if disdaining the vanity
of the two who so admire each other.

And they do a hypnotic turn in a center :
the two, the mirror, and the one turned away.
This is not for the fondness of memory.

It is only a turn of forgetfulness of mirrors
in vain cupidity, though there is only 
the one that contains three images.


Silly talk and baited words, joust and parry,
playful duelers, still unknowing
of the other— sting and cut with our

one-ups-man-ship— testing
our power, going too far
into tender territory,

one word too many, one laugh
too close to a nerve.
And then— ? and then—?  what—?

Back off— try to mask—
intention at stake—
pride against pride—?

Off balance now,
how undo what is done,
with a laugh?  with an honesty? 

take back,
take back—?  So goes
the marriage— so goes the love affair—

so goes the beginning
where it’s test against test—
fearing the closeness that means surrender.


Tomorrow we will go
to the field of stones.
We will take a wheelbarrow
and a digging tool apiece.

There is a whole crop there,
you tell me,
stones of such beauty
they thrill you.

And tomorrow you will show them to me.
You have been there already
and you found
this one
and that one
that I so admire.

How unusual each one is
of design…
of shape…
and color…
and some feel soft
and some make you want to look inside.
But we have no knife for that.

Tonight you have told me
you love me.
And tomorrow we will visit
the field of stones together.

(first pub. in Song for a New Beginning [chapbook], 1993)


Today's LittleNip:


I would bring stones through your hands
to praise arrows.

I would send long avalanches down your arms
and turn them into blue prayers.

You would be silent for this.
You would lower your arms.

(first pub. in
Poet News, 1989 and Song for a New Beginning [chapbook],
Red Cedar Press of Colorado, 1993)


—Medusa, thanking Joyce Odam for today's breakfast treasures, and noting that our new Seed of the Week is Chaos, either on a global scale, or as personal as not being able to find one's keys. Send your poems, photos and artwork on this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (No deadline on SOWs.)