Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Finding the Moon

Sun Crossing Over
—Poems and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

After Bondage by Tamara-de-lampicka

Detective-Mags: shackled woman
arching in exaggerated agony,
begging release.

Chains of love:
How dated.
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)

 Sun Flare

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

 Sun Through Clouds


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 day,

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
softens them—
the sun, the shadows,

the angle of the light.
No matter,
they are being painted by Renoir.

 Sun Melt

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
    (Release breath.)

The scene is faux
    (Sigh in.)

Each breath is twice,
    (Sigh out)

The scene familiar
    (Revise breath)

 (Laughs at the realization)
    (Big belly-breath)

History on a same-such-day
    (…It is only so…)


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
lavish ornamentation

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.

 Sun Rays


and you imperfect dancer
dance alone
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
so       what
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

 Sun Totem

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.

 Sun Going Down


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.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

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.

A reminder that this Sunday, 10-12am, American River Nature Conservancy will present Celebrating Wakamatsu, a writing workshop at Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville with Taylor Graham and Katy Brown, who will lead an exploration of the historic farmhouse, barn and surroundings. Take photos if you wish. There will be quiet time for participants to write a poem inspired by what they’ve experienced, and to share poems with the group and American River Conservancy. Refreshments provided. Children 8+ welcome with adult supervision. Please call to sign up, and for carpool meeting location (Placerville). Suggested Donation: $5/members, $10/non-members. Contact Julie@ARConservancy.org to sign up or call 530-621-1224.

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 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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