Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In the Open Window of Her Life

—Poems and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


Again I misread the signs I must construe
to get through this haunted land.
How many ghosts have gone before?
I see their footprints everywhere
that not even rain has washed away,
nor wind with its ragged broom.

I hear the howlings in the maze
and pray to some god of entanglement
for release from this confusion.
My maps are useless here . . .
the way-back is closed . . .
the way-in has four directions.

I hear the howlings in the maze
and pray to some god of entanglement.
Again I’ve misread the signs I must construe
to get through this haunted land.
The high walls glint with mirrorings
that seem to quarrel with each decision.



I am at an edge
thin against the falling
a small unimportance
of the flat world.
Oh, sweet bird
     inside of me
          lift my wing
               make me fly.

I am an open window.
Dark inside.
An empty room.
Something behind me
presses its palms
     against my back
               into air-web.

(prev. pub. as Poems-for-All No. 444)

 The Blue Jar


Does the fly remember death in its little struggle
in the dregs of a bedside coffee cup, or in the

floating ceiling web, or caught between the screen
and window glass
in summer—or even winter when there’s no chance

of an opened window, there with the withered moth
and the crosshatch view—does the fly remember?



Caught in moonlight’s floating web,
in breeze of silver—shred by shred,

of dream sensation, yielding deep
into the curtain of her sleep,

enveloped by the closing room
wrapped and wrapped in sleep’s cocoon.

(prev. pub. in Blue Moon, 2001)

 Her Rose


she is nude
in the open window of her life
making a face at the world
laughing at its outrage
shouting obscenities at it
when it dares to presume upon her
with its eyes

she is older each morning
watching herself grow heavy
before the daily mirrors
watching herself
the way life watches art

her sensitivities are wound
like wings in web
she flails and struggles
she stays calm
she thinks her way out of
her predicament

each day she admires another layer
her laughter shines like
dew upon the web
her clever escapes
are what she sings about

(prev. pub. in Dusty Dog, 1991)



Web is what touch would avoid—
the word—
what it means to rashness.

It is not a spider thing
of realistic

It is what the curious
or daring
would test themselves against.

Let’s say it is a trap
with exit

your fame at the end
of the testing—
since you are a master of clues.



The dogs
growl and tug
over an old web belt.
They thrash
at the doorway.
The summer dust
mats to their new wounds.
They are oblivious
to all but possession
of this old belt.

(prev. pub. in The Bridge, 1998)



I am that moth
that splits the skull
of your cocoon.
will never trap me now.

If you feel a flutter
at your cheek
it will be the kiss
of my poisonous wings.
Light a possessive fire
and I will make a suicide
in you.

O heart that beats my death
while I rage free,
I have
only one season now.
There is no beauty
I will not consume.


After Der Philosoph by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

He hides in his thoughts; you can find him
among his concealments:
maze of meaning, swirl of sensation,
tangle of question—imagination’s texture—

in symbol: fox heads and blue worms,
endless roots that touch and recoil,
darkness that ends and begins again,
one eye that stays open to see;

his mouth that does not speak.
His ear listens and sends messages
to his head—his profile
a kaleidoscopic swarm of his thinking,

complexity of thought
disappearing into blank stare—
further disappearance beyond his will,
caught in his own web—

color melting around and through him
until he is a collage of memory and
forgetfulness—at odds with beginning
and completion—all part of some emergence.


An old one,

looking in
ragged web
as large as the window
hanging there
for many winters

the old one
peering through now

to an oval
frame or mirror
where the winter face
is filled with rain light
and wet from the same rain
drizzling down
on the old one, staring in . . .


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

A tantrum wind—
a window rattles in the dark,
and something wild
breaks the glass and leaves its mark:

a broken web
by only tantrum threads now held,
its art destroyed,
where once a fussy spider dwelled.


Many thanks to Joyce Odam for her fine riffs on the web, our Seed of the Week, including her intriguing entangles! Our new Seed of the Week is Railroad Tracks. Are you on the right track? Would you like to ride the rails? All those sights and smells, and lots of sounds: whistles, clackety-clack, all aboard. 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 plenty of others to choose from.


Celebrate Poetry!
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