Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Ghosts of Sudden Perspective

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

After (RUBY BIRD) The Toy Shelf
Ruby Bird (postcard) by Lewis H. Siegel

Ruby Bird flies against red wall,
over pottery shards,
under midnight moon—

both caught in the angers
that are like cross-winds of time,
as if the wall bleeds of its own despair,

as if the white flame
of the candle must ever flare
in the harsh futility

that lives here,
in a red cage made of
endless confinement.

This is not a poem to celebrate
the myths of madness,
of how the wall streams

with tragic weeping
for the beating of the bird’s wings.
The black moon, too,

is prisoner and solution.  Solution :
intuitive anger—
all that cannot be endured.

(first pub. in Medusa's Kitchen, 2011)



leaning against the wall
oh tender nude
sad in your body
boy-faced      high-breasted
your far green center
glowing through your skin

you are wondering why the
mirror falls away from you
when you doze backward
into dream
why are you thinking
such a golden tear

move your mind against
the mood
your shoulders are
turning into gray stone
the room
is not returning for you

(first pub. in Armadillo, 1977;
A Tiny Book of Nudes mini-chap)



Love’s nudes are forever pulling at my eyes
making me look at them
making me blush
making me want to be beautiful, too.


After Mademoiselle Julie Manet, 1887
by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1979)

Girl and cat
in tranquility of pastel.
Girl day dreams.  Cat purrs. 

Her shadow against the couch
is motionless.
The cat allows itself to be loved.

Vague light in the room
stays soft. The walls diffuse.
Her thoughts hide in her eyes.

All is fading—
losing context
in tone after tone of quietness.

I watch for her breathing.
She does not know how I linger
over this moment she has claimed

for herself—
how even the cat
is unaware of my imposition.



My cat and I are listening to violin adagios.
I think he’s dying. It is mid-August,
a cool morning, no one home but us.
My cat is sleeping on my chair, the one
we fight over—his favorite—my favorite,
because it fits us both, and because
it’s mine,  and because I let him claim it
when he imposes sulkingly—and
stubbornly, as I am apt to be sometimes.
But this is a quiet, still okay, morning.
I am fussing around, doing little things
to avoid the one thing pressing.
But we are listening to violin adagios
and the outer world is quiet so far
no traffic—no voices passing by.
But he has not eaten—he has not
eaten—nor do I care to, and this is
just the right kind of slow-paced morning
that suits us both—my old Spirit cat and I.

 Sad Like Tomorrow

Blazing images, like manes and hooves pouring over
the horizon—ghosts of sudden perspective, falling
off the edge of everything. Watching helplessly,
nothing can stop them now—the terrible
neighing, driving them into and over
the thin red line of burning sky.



And now the arrogant stone
in its lambent light
lies in the path and thinks itself
superior to common rocks

and gleams its soft gleam
for all who pass
admiring the path
with its glints and glimmers

and the vain stone preens
to its mirrored self
and the very light that
gives it this enhancement.



All day I measure and sift
create and fill the oven
mess up the kitchen
fill the tables and the counters
spill peach juice everywhere
leave rings of flour
pick at the cake crumbs with my fingers
drink coffee after coffee
read recipe books to their endings
like a good novel
I am a baker
I send you to the store
for more flour, sugar, spices
expensive ingredients
for my fever
I make one thing after another
until I am done
and we, not hungry, eat none of it.

(first pub. in Medusa's Kitchen, 2011)                                   


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

So you paint your lips red
and dye your heart blue—

a love-ridden heart
that will never stay true

to one who is only
a word to remember—

it is
not you.


Thank you, Joyce Odam, for fiery sunsets and spilled peach juice, all echoing our Seed of the Week: Peach! Our new Seed of the Week is North Wind. Think metaphorically; there are poetic treasures to be found in chill factors and cold hearts! Send your poems, photos & 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.

Today at 5pm, Poetry Off-the-Shelves meets in El Dorado Hills at the library on Silva Valley Parkway. Suggested topic for January is “historic,” but other subjects are also welcome. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, wishing for more of those blazing ghosts of sudden perspective ~

 For some versions of Aesop's "The North Wind and the Sun", 

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