Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Storm Building

The Plot Thickens
—Poems and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


the field full of blackbirds…
     wind roaring high…the long
          green grasses bending, full of rain…

the curtains flutter in some draft, and we
     peer out…from window to window…room to
          room, to a sky so full of movement…

the ceiling lights flicker…winds moan down
     the stovepipe…tree branches scrape and shudder,
          shudder and scrape, above the house…

sirens slip through, wavering thin and far, but
     where?     the wind-howl swallows them,
          cutting the ragged day apart…

the windows stream, distort, and fling
     cold images about…we move, subdued, to the
          holding-center of the house…safe and sound…

we watch and listen…the day darkens down
     with storm-shadows, driving sheets of rain,
          the field full of blackbirds…nervous…loud…

 Enough Already


I push through barrier after barrier with my life
which is crowded with intention and failure.

I am huge, I fit everywhere, for I am forceful.
I am my own jungle of resistance.

Trees crowd into me—
challenge my right to be among them.

I push them aside—
as long as I am strong I can do this.

At night I sleep among
the sleeping trees.

Each morning
we begin again.

 On Such a Day As This


albino peacock
stone woman in fountain
statue of love
carnival night
and sighing flesh-woman
entering the blue garden
in shadow by the pillar
lover watching with mask removed
lace collar caught in moonlight
they will not meet…they are shy…
rose petals flutter behind her
as she strolls
albino peacock
ambles beside her
assuring their lack of vanity
waiting too long by the dark pillar
lover is held
in tendrils of Bougainvillea.



young and wild
wine and confetti
danger in the alleys…

intoxicate each other
the night is drunk with you
and fickle unto others…

morning will catch you
in a smothering wing,
sink and dream the pretty sleep…

your masks
will also sleep
and remember none of this…

 I Don't Know, Tree, Moon and Big Baloon


Misfortune—that old hag, her gleaming presence,
what she wears to introduce herself, those semi-
precious birds she keeps on risky pedestals, the
charming echoes they have learned.

What does she want of me, I’ve nothing more to
lose or give. I’ve paid my dues to her demands—
those lies she told—those mis-directions that she
gave when she was all cajole and promise.

But now that I see her true face in her own mirror,
I all but lose my nerve : her costume in rags, her
makeup ruined. She turns to me again—this time
contrite—and once again I ask her to save me.



I, writing good news,
make you worry—
you have known me
too long—you
read beneath words
for what I am saying.

I tell you about
the seasons and the
domestic cuteness of the day,
skim-off the surfaces
like fat from a
simmering pot of chili.

I send you an easy recipe
using wine     and recount
all the latest
household disasters
to make you laugh.

And because it is time to
start dinner
I close with love
and start

cutting up
with a     newly-sharpened
making insignificant wounds
on my only life.

(first pub. in Squeezebox, 1975)

 A Kiss For The Villain


She is in the white trance of sleep.
All color is drained from her dream.

She holds a death mask in her hand
as if it will guard her absence.

She lies upon a dark mirror.
She must duplicate herself.

Her shadow resists.
Her eyes do not flicker.

She does not feel the room go cold.
The mask takes on a new expression.

Her shadow leaves her body.
Her eyes refuse to open.

She must go through the glare to return.
She is in the white trance of sleep.



may we stumble into love
if that is wise
go where it is holy room
and compassionate eyes
let the window watch for
time to do its passing
we will have a soft place to lie
where we can hold each other
from twice the loneliness

if we blunder well
and it is good
we will permit ourselves
one happiness apiece
if that is what we find

(first pub. in Suttertown Good-Time News)

Today’s LittleNip:
—Joyce Odam

You have us tangled
in your love.

In writing poems to one
we both slip in.

You want us one,
but we are two.

In writing poems to one
you do not separate us.



Thank you, Joyce Odam, for today’s wonderful poems and art!

Today from 5-7pm, Poetry Off-the-Shelves poetry read-around takes place at the El Dorado County Library on Silva Valley Parkway in El Dorado Hills. The suggested topic for December is "birds," 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.

Tongue twisters!—better known as Alliteration on Steroids. Knowing when to use—and not use—alliteration is an important part of the sounds of poetry, yes? So our new Seed of the Week is Tongue Twisters. Check out these articles:



•••maybe check out Sound Maestro Gerard Manley Hopkins, too, at www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/gerard-manley-hopkins/, and watch for how he sculpts little sound bites that fly through his poems like songbirds.

Then play with sound, flex your sound muscles, see what you can come up with. Send your results (twisters, poems or otherwise), 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.

—Medusa, tying her tatty, tawdry snakes into a terpsichorean tangle over too many, too silly tongue twisters ~

 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.