Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bouncing Balls of Light and Imagination

Joyce's Cat, Spirit
—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


Come to the stone wall for the story. See how the
history reveals. You are there, too, as part of life’s
repetitions. You have felt the carving and the en-
graving, how the language and the imagery repeat
and differ. All is the art of the artist. The artist is
the believer who has not time enough to say it all.
Rain heightens. Winds erase. Sunlight must trace
all the indentations, revise the panels. Why not
eyes, why not mind, why not argument of lost
opinions? This is where you gravitate when time
diminishes around you, reading the answers that
do not even recognize the questions.


Let us now take up our pens

and mathametize all possibilities. Edges are moot.
Rounds are preferred. Distance is correlated by time,
as language is to poetry. Also moot. This is a study
in concepts—con and pro. Rules are unproven—as
are the questions. Light and shadow are forbidden.
Glass is allowed for consultation. Use white paper to
emulate the flatness of the sky. Stars will be added
where needed, for guiding points. Use no seams.
That would confuse the lesson. All must be all, and
all in place, correct and absolute, with a center pin-
point viewing-hole for the viewing mind to fathom.

After The Uncertainty of the Poet, 1913, by Giorgio de Chirico

Make of this what you will. We are all fumbling
for meaning through a maze of words and symbols:

take this stem of bananas by this green torso.
Incongruous, yes. But note the slanting shadows

from Roman arches, the sky pulled away into
its own blue reaches, that speeding train along

the first horizon while ship-masts in the other distance
bob in tranquility. The torso contorts—as torsos

must—at the absence of head, and arms, and
legs, twisted toward all lost sensation, except for

memory of taste and smell—for light that shapes—
for desire of touch, from spreading pool of shadow.

(first pub. in Rattlesnake Review)


The point of this is pointlessness,
I keep trying to explain.
You, as vague as usual,
stare away in your other direction.

Take words, I say, throwing you a few
in broken sentences.
But you, still in love with cruelty,
turn up the volume of your deafness.

Let the cat in, I suggest,
let the cat out,
let it in,
let it out. Damn cat.

You, of course,
have no use for cats
though cats love you
with all their eyes and sidle up to you.

I am bereft, I plead.
Take this silence,
so tiresome,
I don’t know how to say it.

You open a page of light,
read it
with your lips,
and make a revision.

I drag you along in my conversation,
I need your provocation,
I need the way you look at me—
your un-reach-a-bil-ity.

You turn away from the
immaculate mirror of your face,
open the door
and let the cat out.


I hear the cat’s voice, but the air is too thin to hold it.
It is another fairy tale, and the cat is under a spell. The
scene is a forest, as it always is, and I don’t know how
I got to a forest anyway.

The point of the story seems to be vanishing among
the trees, and the cat’s voice, too, until I am sure
I was mistaken, because the last page is missing.

The old dread has not yet settled down, and I don’t
expect it to. I suddenly realize I am writing—I am
making this up—it is all my own doing,

The cat’s voice is what I need to guide me through these
deepening trees—but where did the cat go? Where did
it take its path of mewling? How will I save it—or it
save me? How will I ever know the ending?  


leaping, dancing, amid painted cats
and blue music of red violin
in hands of floating child
with flowers
and bouncing balls
of light and imagination
where nothing
it is
for the sky
the cats think they
are falling,
but they are only dancing
to the practice violin of
the prodigy child
who is a mischief maker
filling the dream sky
with painted cats
to the music
of the red violin
in the hands of the floating child

After Still Life with Music and Parrot, 1737, by Gigory Teplo

It is in
this room
that artifacts
list themselves
in the afternoon’s
dusty shadows
with light that streams in,
looking for lost detail,
A child is hidden here.
You can sense her,
behind a door—
a clue,
or afterthought,
not meant for
curiosity’s probe.
Do not touch,
and do not ask,

is what is implied.
Things are random—
even the stuffed parrot
the child would like to pet,
lisp words, ask her question,
touch the things—
once more slip past the No.


Today’s LittleNip:

Poem by Teresa Torres (Argentina)

Here is a table full of words. Flesh and wine.
Gorge yourself. Never be hungry. Even the
crumbs are precious. Ask for more.

Fill your mouths and eyes.
Push your chair back. Fall asleep.
It’s all useless language. Do not speak.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s wonderful poems and pix! Our new Seed of the Week is Pals. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for more SOWs than you can shake a pencil at.


 Celebrate your need to write! And scroll down to the blue 
column (under the green column at the right) for info about 
upcoming readings in our area—and note that 
more may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.