Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ghosts & Other Skaters

Many Fallen Leaves
—Photo by Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

All night I hear them swishing by
on skates of silver. They defy
the moving edge of moon’s cold light,
night skaters blent against the night

who reappear with substance lost,
except to memory’s sad cost—
pale shining figures dressed in white,
night skaters blent against the night

like winter’s ghosts on silver ice.
If they are there but to entice,
should I respond…? (As if I could.)
Night skaters blent against the night,

will disappear—they always do—
time measured back from what it knew,
almost surrendered, but not quite,
night skaters blent against the night.


—Joyce Odam

Your bones seem made of silver light
as you dance toward me, transparent,
your arms holding outward.

I am not yet frightened of you;
you are so graceful and purposeful
and made of such melancholy.

I do not yet feel the music you feel,
though I move accordingly, finding
your slow and intensive rhythm.

How long must we dance like this
in the swimming moonlight,
wrapping around each other like loss?

(first pub. in Tule Review)


—Joyce Odam

You poured wine over my head, and I
poured wine over your head. Then we wept.

Now you come over the telephone with foolish
words, a bouquet of praises in your mouth.

What am I to believe? I have closed the door.
I have sealed the envelope.

I am an old woman now in a wooden chair.
I sit and think of nothing. I stare and stare.


—Joyce Odam

And will you take me to the door
and out into the night
with its surprise of stars
and its performing moon,
with its sky-patterns
that you know,
with all its listening endlessness
and powerful vertigo,
and say that you
just wanted
to show me this?

(first pub. in Parting Gifts)


—Joyce Odam

January 2nd is missing, or did you
lose—too soon—all your resolve?

Are you secret, or out of volition?
I kept faith with your resolution,

but you have become private—
choosing not to let me in on your

calendar of days as you spend
them. And I, who was ready to

accompany you, am left stranded
in a glitch of my life—my thumb

extended—on a long empty road.
It is dusk. And cold. And I didn’t

bring a page to fill—or a pencil
to fill it with—let alone a thought.

And I wonder if tomorrow you
might yet drive by and rescue me,

or if ever I should believe in anyone
again who voices their persuasive

intentions. I expected the full
365 days—not—this soon—gaps.

(first pub. in Sakana, 2005)


—Joyce Odam

These blue waves lift forever to the shore
     as if practicing time in suspension.

They pull in from the eternal horizon;
     the dark rocks wait for their fall.

The sound of their breaking is just about
     to be released.

The turbulence of blue churns with impatience;
     the layers of wet light glow upon the sand.

The smell of the sea air comes through the
     tang of memory.

The gulls have just lifted away with their
     harrowing cries.

The sky’s last light is slipping and slipping
     into time’s darkness.

And in that darkness, the waves finally
     and silently break across the picture frame,

right up the tangible edge of my wet shoes.


Thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine fare! I hope you're able to check out "This Week's Kool Thing(s)" over on the green board at the right of this, along with our new Seed of the Week: Coming Home (send 'em to kathykieth@hotmail.com), and the new Form to Fiddle With, the Trimetric, a handy little form which was "invented" by Dr. Charles A. Stone. See his website at writingsbystone.wordpress.com/trimerics for a whole passel of 'em. Hey—I'm all for repeated lines! If a line is worth saying once, well...

The Davis Poetry Book Project will launch this weekend! Editor Allegra Silberstein writes: This anthology of poems by local residents and people who in the past have lived here will have its grand opening at the Davis Art Center, 1919 F Street, Davis, on Saturday, December 10th. The reading will begin at 7:00, but the doors will be open at 6:30 for poets to pick up their books and for the purchase of books. This will be a great opportunity to hear our community of poets read their work. I have titled the book Entering, with the adobe train station on the cover symbolizing entrance to Davis and, on another level, entering the soul of our city through poetry. This project, funded in large part by the City of Davis Arts Contract Program, has been more difficult than I had ever imagined, but the support of people like Dr. Andy Jones, Danyen Powell, Briony Gylgayton, Lauren Swift, Carrie Dyer, Katy Brown who did the photography, and Mark Deamer at The Printer, have sustained me on this journey. Also, I am very grateful to our Davis Art Center for sponsoring this reading. So many fine poems were submitted that I decided to increase the number of pages. Storywalkers Consulting Group and Eager Mondays also contributed to this cause. I'm hoping that enough sales will come in to cover the additional cost. This book will make a fine gift for someone who has everything...come and find out why at this reading.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Joyce Odam

the days
have begun
playing tricks on
me, I find time does
not matter to my plans.
I have become very good
at plausible explanations.



 —Photo by Joyce Odam