After Bondage by Tamara-de-lampicka
Detective-Mags: shackled woman
arching in exaggerated agony,
Chains of love:
Bondage as pseudonym.
How long can she stay beautiful,
chained to an old helpless pose—
how can she scratch her nose?
After "L" Inaccessible by Levier
She holds a tamed bird in her hand
to signify her love for you.
The bird is nondescript—confused
by the kindness of her hand. Now that
it has forgotten how to fly from her power
it cannot remember the song of its freedom:
as long as their eyes connect you must know
she is sincere. She does not look at you,
turning aside in your clown costume and
tragic face. You dress this way to amuse her.
You fold your arms. She croons softly
to the bird, her eyes lowered with tenderness.
You are jealous of the bird, which does not
fear you. You fear the gentled power of
the bird which rests so lovingly
in her hand—held there by its own illusion,
her symbolic gesture a riddle for the power
of your silence. There is no bird.
(first pub. in Blue Unicorn, 2004)
THE AURA OF DARKNESS
After Bird in silhouette against flare of light,
Photo by James Ballard as seen in Reflections
on the Gift of a Watermelon Pickle
O bird, in bird outline
O bird, in bird silhouette
O bird, in stark relief—
that old thieved line
Around you, a rim of flared light
Behind you, a swirl of energy
Inside of you, the dark threat
Unreal or real, what
has decided you?
Sharp beak and quiet eye—at rest,
what has arrested you?
…against swirl of energy
…all light has suppressed in you
…self darkened to mere silhouette
A shadow-child might see you
and think you tame.
A shadow-world might free you
and release your name.
And I might rearrange the gathered
instance of you to exclaim :
…reality is not true
…imagination has its own view
…no shape of fear is darker than you
LOOKING FOR THE MOON
How the moon
in a worry of sky
is kept bound by the tree
that keeps hiding it in its branches . . .
How the moon—in spite of this—
hides from the tree
in a freedom of sky—
cold and far—nearly perfect . . .
And how the tree lets it go
when we pass it by, leaving
these thoughts to wander upward
toward that unreachable surface . . .
Tomorrow we will find the moon,
in one of its places in the sky—
fully round—the cold, chiseled moon,
phrased lightly with scar-like detail . . . .
After Three Bathers (Bathers Playing
with a Crab) by Renoir
How can time ever hold them still?
They love the air, the sky,
the freedom of themselves
in romp and wrestle—
young nude women,
knowing they are watched.
Playful as they are,
they will be halted—
Their story is not important.
They are having fun.
They are being young,
tussling over some object
of no value, but to win.
The late day hour
the sun, the shadows,
the angle of the light.
they are being painted by Renoir.
City Recreates George Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon
in Art is alive along the River, Beloit, Wisconsin
The moment caught.
(Ah, hold breath.)
History holds its breath
The scene is faux
Each breath is twice,
The scene familiar
(Laughs at the realization)
History on a same-such-day
(…It is only so…)
ON READING RILKE
After Photo: Anna Pavlova in Ballets Russes
costume, wearing a Kokoshnikov (headdress)
When I look at fake pearls,
or remember looking at real pearls,
I bring my focus forward to the
of pearls sewn-on in designed rows
of garments and costumes…
as functional as faux pearl buttons
enclosed in loosened buttonholes…
or the perfectly matched pearls
in earrings and long-strand necklaces—
tokens of wealth—flaunting
their price—their meaning—the pearls
having no guile or regret except what
we put there for them in our gazing.
I do not think of pearl-divers or oysters
with any more relevance than
the metaphoric pearls
still casting their quiet light
in the soft glow of moonlight
in the stillness or movement of wearing.
and you imperfect dancer
under the music
under the heavy light
so tired of movement
so tired of unfound definition
you say yourself painfully
being born of no love
and being told again and again
how poorly you dance
your feet move wrong
and your hands are tangled up
in old relinquished strings
see how you fail
there is no
applause for you
only the mirrors watch
if you dance for mirrors
sticks lie across the darkness
marking your freedom
someone has turned away
and the world vibrates
with the sound of that walking
After Three Men Walking, 1948 by Giamocetti
Walking out from the center of the mirror, I face
three directions and am at once at the mercy of
three compulsions. Thus am I split into the three
measurements of existence: I am past, present,
and future. But, still, I am of the mirror—that
mothering eye that will not diminish or release,
but only gives me a glimpse of illusion—that
bordering reach—that drift off the fathomless
edge around me. If only I can pull away at the
exact moment, I will escape the unguarded blink
that must occur. Even now, I can feel my three
selves slip the magnetic hold of my own fear
and reluctance—that pull at the weakening
center—if only I am that brave—if only I can
break my own trance, and that of the mirror.
See how I erase you, Love—how you
unexist in words of poems and sad love songs
that insist, insist, insist,
on being reminders?
All your written margins,
penciled in private grief are at the mercy
of my afterthought.
See how I release my painful agreements
on pages where I sought answers?
Love, I know now, there are none—
only these pretensions and persuasions,
resisted, or believed.
How many dreams regret their dreaming?
Forget the question.
It is moot.
THE MOTION OF RELEASE
There is a crease where something moves
that has not moved before,
a shiver in the sky
where the white birds cross,
a hollow in the dream
where the mind lets something out,
an old desire
that fades and does not grieve.
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for her sun pix and freedom poems on this July 4th as she explores the many different kinds of personal freedom.
Our new Seed of the Week is Invisible. Check out at Eeyore below—ever feel invisible, or wish you were…? Or can you see people/places/things that seem to be invisible to others? Whatever your take on invisibility is, send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 plenty of others to choose from.
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