Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Green Tango

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


The old fat couple lived in a tiny house
with their fat white cat who caught no mouse
but ate and slept throughout its years.

The old fat couple smiled and sat.
She cooked. He read.
The old white cat stretched and purred.

The breezes stirred. The tiny house
breathed out its ribs and settled back.
Each covered chair and polished top

rejected dust. The shining appliances
clicked and whirred.
The wiring and pipes traveled and rattled.

The fairy tale was not complete.
The cat and the couple had more to eat.
They ate all spring. They ate all winter.

They watched for mail and they
watched for hunger. The shiny eye
of the shiny cat would slit and glitter;

it shone with dark till dark was stronger
and the old fat couple rocked and talked
and clapped and laughed. And that was that.

(first pub. in Neo-Victorian Cochlea, 2000)

 Old Reminders


They want to dance together
but the music is stiff and awkward

and they don’t know how
though they have their arms around each other.

But he twists one way, and she another,
as if they were dancing in different directions.

His arm is in firm position around her,
and her hand is tender upon his face.

But the music can’t seem to get it together.
And they discover they have no clothes on.

But they want to dance together, and he goes
ta dum ~ ta dum ~

and the music starts over, and goes discordant,
like a suffer of green,

and his face goes tragic, and she looks resigned.
Still—they want to dance together.

(first pub. on Medusa’s Kitchen, 2013)



Strangely sensual without the body—flattened into
pure shining texture for the observing room light.
her kimono, lying open on the bed—


In the late summer woods—a leaf has fallen into
a shaft of sunlight and lies, softly shining there,
its edges lifted by the occasional small breezes.

(first pub. on Medusa’s Kitchen, 2012)



I mutter to the wind
and it
mutters back.

A certain wrack of something
strains against the tether
of our life.

All that we share
is told and retold
in a dreamlike tone.

The wind snags
on a stubborn shutter
with a little howl of pain.

I wince against
a shoulder-ache
and offer a little laugh.

All winter we do this :
endure and complain and know
that next year we will do the same.

(first pub  in Bitterroot)

 It Couldn't Be Worry


I will be the source of your discovery.
Come find me :

I am sitting at a small round table with a white tablecloth
waiting for a white cup of House-Blend Coffee to cool.

I inhale its steam and close my eyes.
I drift away from the moment and wait for you.

(first pub. on Medusa’s Kitchen, 2011)



In aging mirrors
my young face suffers transformation,
yielding to what memory protects:
looking past and through.


My house mirror loves me better
than public mirrors—
is kinder to me—like love;
forgives everything—like love.

 Cast a Shadow



light and dark—light
and dark—like braids

of some lost angel here—
and some lost angel there—

their untamed hair—their untamed hair
loosening from braiding hands of

their sad

 In Deep Thought

After Psychological Morphology by Roberto Matta

The sun is the eye now
How it sees

Spilled jars of colors
Oil on water    Caught by the eye

A fold in the middle
A division    Two sides and an edge

Somewhere a signature    In code
An “N” and an “N”    No vowels

There is always a focal point
That shimmers    That has a center

There are knobs    And tryings
Too slow to verify

Let us leave this panel
Before it overwhelms


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

two roads did go both ways
they met as one
and both did seek
the other end of each
and on them
the pale travelers
went back and forth . . .
went on and on
until the roads wore down
with sending them


—Public Domain Photo 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today Joyce Odam is singing to us about couples and the tangos they try to dance together. Thank you, Joyce!

Our new Seed of the Week is Shelter. 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.

Cancellations continue; the most recent is today’s Free Poetry Hour with Chris Olander in Nevada City (www.facebook.com/events/181047503105344/). Also, all activities scheduled at the Hart Center on J St. in Sacramento are cancelled until April 12, which would include several weekly poetry workshops. For more cancellations in our area, scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

For more about the Pastiche, go to www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pastiche/.



 Psychological Morphology  
—Painting by Roberto Matta
(For more about Chilian Painter Roberto Matta

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.