Out, the look—the look, out,
to the (un)familiar—
this is whim-si-cal advantage,
the mock(ery) of everything in view.
Oh yes, the window—famous now,
for all the looking—freedom for the eyes,
the air grown heavy from smoke—
from burning trees—forests of disaster.
One can smell it.
Only on the news, we are here,
at the edge of looking, feeling the fear,
the “what if” already over-burdened,
one color opening into others—
so richly overwhelming—
it wants no memory of this—
close the window—
looking out—close the window.
It is her business to be beautiful, so a man will love her.
She thinks back to her mother who has spread these scarves
of advice everywhere—even the years remember the
small details. One by one they float before her.
She allows the dance of beauty to disguise her. He believes
only in her beauty. He allows her dance but wants her to
remove her scarves, one by one, wants to see them floating
in the currents of his ardor, lure after lure for his earned sake.
She likes the sensation of his eyes and the feel of his soft words,
is surprised when he discovers the flaw in her mirror. She looks
for the faith in his promises and takes her beauty inward—there
it survives in spite of the flaw and the scarves that heap on the floor.
She lies down among the scarves and tries to remember what they
were for; sometimes a breeze stirs among them and lures her back;
sometimes he will find her shape among them and be tender.
Mostly he remembers only that he is sad, and that she has failed him.
No more do I think of you
though you do linger at some edge of me.
You are the one in patient memory—fragile
at times—breaking into tears. I call it rain.
I cover the night with dead stars and
the cold moon to keep them in cold distance.
I move into each day as if it were tomorrow.
You still struggle in yesterday’s old chaos—
still doing battle with the old foes—your rages
and explications tear around me as I remember
differently: I am the quarrel, unresolved.
I focus inward—still there—in the unsolving.
Thin as a figment, you calculate the rim, how long it
can hold you—something you have been wanting to try—
the long span over the emptiness, the tangible sky above,
the crowd below, swaying under you with hypnotic vertigo.
Like a feather now, with just one bone connecting you
to bonelessness, with no resistance; you almost bend from
body-weight into self-folding—like a pulled thread,
a loosening inward, away from all that form and texture.
I fall from the edge.
Nothing owns me.
hold still for death,
I am that patient.
This is the way
to treat darkness:
Be darker and longer,
turn when it turns;
it will leave you alone then.
Soft in the room, my body glows.
I move and the movement lingers.
Silver runs over me like a song.
Am I substance? Am I light?
Who can hear me?
I watch rain fall from my fingers.
I draw tears on my face.
Why am I weeping?
Up against the mountain
where the climb is high,
I hear the old sweet cry
of the crying bird.
how I aspire
It flies aloft
even as I
The climb is all I know.
We who have been close and separate
now face the mutual mirror of regard
and look hard at the memory :
What has gone between us is a river,
deep and deeper
with the changes.
What a strange metaphor . . .
one of us always drowning here and there,
in the difficulties, in the confusion.
The river is always behind us
and before us,
hypnotic with motion and energy.
No stillness here, no turning back,
though we do—grasping at all these
beginnings, caught in the currents.
Night has an edge where I expend
dark energies bearing the night to its end . . .
where sleep brings recurrent dreams
or longer dreamlessness . . .
where the bleak sea of thought exerts
its tides on fathomless shores . . .
where manifestations exist and deplore
their existence . . .
where a mute engulfing angel waits
to enfold me with his smothering wings,
and gather me to his sympathetic breast
in a sinking sleep . . .
shots and shots and
A dog barks,
something becomes an edge.
I think it’s fear.
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for exploring the edge of night (our SOW) for us in a way that sends chills here, there and everywhere! Our new Seed of the Week is Falling, either literally, or in some of the other ways in which we use the word, such as falling in (or out of!) love. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to email@example.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.
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