Tuesday, May 29, 2018

What Swirls Beneath

Are We There Yet?
—Poems and Original Art by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


Today I went through aisles and aisles of crowded noise.
The moon was not full. The creaky cart I pushed was not
to be tamed. My list was too long to fill and I forgot to
take off my dark glasses. I seemed to be going against a
tide. My cart filled and bumped into other carts. Its wheels
strained against direction. The checkout line was long and
slow. The lady at the register wore a frown. We wept and
held each other as the reluctant hour waned. Reaching a
completion of transaction, we wished each other a nice day
and parted like strangers.



This morning I saw
a wren,
by the wheels of my car.

This morning I saw
a tense girl walking.
She was going the other way.

The wren
did not move
when I drove by.

The girl was walking
with her head bent down.

Today is such
a fragile day.

The wren’s feathers
did not shine.

Today is a day
of tiredness and escape.

There is no way
to go
but through the patterns.

I don’t know
where the girl was going.
I don’t know
if the wren flew away.

 Bridge Over Water

And in the clouds,

the image-heavy clouds,
taking me 
from here to there—
too far—each time too far.

I long for flightless shoes
for walking in the fields
and climbing low hills
in tempo with me.

I long for stillness
to hold me from
the whirling
that I live from year to year.

And here . . .  here . . .  I am again
in clouds, in brimming clouds,
that know me as a weary bird
afraid of flight.



you at the edge of everything
I in the center
a shining wheel that turns
on my life
and your eye
how I spin
to dizziness and meter

and from the blur
you throw knives at me and
laugh from the praise of your talent
an audience cheers
you raise your arms
to the applause
all your fingers are knives

Roadside Blur


The jagged fence-line pokes into the fog-line,
that low to the ground.

I can’t see the street through the dripping gray
with only the old wooden fence

in focus—and down the street—coming out of
the fog now, two fuzzy headlights,

making out the soft blur of some ghost-like figure,
out walking alone.

 Motel Stop-Over


In wet green light we out-race each other on the wavery 
blue freeway. “Surreal!” you say, and laugh, and take
your hands off the wheel. I marvel at the blending of speed
and light and settle back for the ride. “Where do you want
to go?” you ask and press faster. The other cars drift back,
leaving long wet trails of thinning light between us.

In the lead now, I marvel at the beautiful blue motion, at how
we blur, and still hold eerily to the core of stillness. Droning
forward, we become source of pure momentum; concentrate
on the sensation; take in the defining quiet; lift and soar; catch
up with ourselves.



. . . when we were driving that night, our car ending up in the
ditch—on its side—in that scary, sleep-thin hour on some un-
familiar road—me on the floor of the front seat, under the dash,
squashed under a pile of pillows (“that saved me", you said),
standing there crying in the echoing night on that mishap-road
to wherever we found ourselves. And I don’t even remember
it—though I think I do sometimes—when I can feel myself
being on the floor of the car under those life-saving pillows and
hearing your muffled voice crying my name and someone
(who?) standing off the road in the cold and total darkness—
the ringing silence—the wheels of the car still turning, and no
headlights from anywhere . . .

 Night Vision


Shall we dance, old lady,
on the walking bars,

oh, shall we dance together?
Lift up that leg and give it a swing.

Now do the other.  Look,
we’re one-foot closer

to the length it takes
the reach the wheelchair,

wheeling, wheeling in response.
Dance to the chair.


derring do

ahead of death, a dancing darling
racing up a hill,    flirtatious   
pretentious,    out for a thrill

mere shadow on the sky,
star-twinkle in her eye,
her heart,    a cry.

death follows as fast as it can,
rounding corners on a squeal
in its fancy automobile.

who knows
which way a race

a trip of the foot
      or catch of a wheel
            . . . who   knows   when . . . .


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

this swirl of almost-known forces
that one must penetrate—this tangle
of sleep, so thick with effort and terror—

how probe the mind for this—the mind is
asleep—only in dreams does it let its levels out

waking is not release—only what swirls beneath


Many, many thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s fine poems and artwork, as she riffs on our Seed of the Week: Asleep at the Wheel. Our new Seed of the Week is The Thief. What did he/she steal from you? Your wallet? Your heart? Your planet? 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.


 —Anonymous Photo
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