Hungry, we smelled the bread. The breeze
opened up. We followed, tried to find the source,
no bakery anywhere, only the open windows of air.
We followed the sensuality of yeast,
the air took on a tawny color. Our eyes became
as dark as poppy seeds. We tried to hurry.
After a long time we came to an empty plate
left on an old tablecloth covered with ants
and fallen leaves. The scent was here.
We heard voices off in a small distance,
and laughter, followed the sound and came
upon ourselves in an intimate embrace,
savoring a perfect moment
before we had to go back to some forgotten
hunger—some unresolved beginning.
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 2015)
We are half-hungry
all the time,
not for the food, but for
the unknown taste.
The peach is in
the orchard of the mind.
We cannot find that
dark, unreachable tree;
but if we could,
that gathered ripeness
for our taste
taste the way
we thought it should.
(prev. pub. in The Third Leaf Has Fallen
Mini Chapbook, 1968, by Joyce Odam)
This is sweet—
this is sour.
One is fine grape—
one is mysterious lemon.
Both are true to the mouth
which responds with different pleasure
which gets hungry so often
which needs…which needs.
Do not starve the mouth.
It has no kiss to protect it.
Do not starve the mouth.
(prev. pub. in Celebration, 1987)
one mouse away from civilization
the party laughs
drops from glasses into thoughts
outside the house the haunted dog
holds his new note
the pantry holds its darkness
like a death
the mousetrap waits
bait hides the hungry snap
After Toyen (Marie Cerminova)’s
At the Chateau Lacoste, 1946
The beast of sorrow is hungry.
It has always starved.
It has always been held captive by need.
It has become a mural.
It cannot escape the wall though it weeps
and the prey comes up to it in pity.
Though it snarls,
it cannot feed.
Though the prey
has pity, it cannot be sacrifice.
Something always stays between.
What is lost is what we love.
we will tear a rose
and devour it
for we are hungry
for certain tastes
we have been
away so long
of the flowers
pink with flavor
as we smile
through the half-darkness
at each other
(prev. pub. in ARX, l969) and
The Rose Eaters Mini-Chap
by Joyce Odam, 1972)
What are drawn to our sills
are unbearable birds
who eat our bread,
are error of leaves
gone astray in flight,
are disattached shadows
of all that passes.
What if they cut the window
with their diamond eyes,
the wine-hungry birds,
the poisonous leaves,
the thirsting forms
that reach for
our newly poured glasses.
THE UNIMAGINED ANIMALS
in the city
the animals finally came
with their glinting eyes
and their quiet walking
with their adaptable hands
and their appetites
great furry shapes
and curdling cries
passing among the people
going everywhere on
flimsy leashes and chains
looking in windows
on the other side of buildings
they even knew how to obey
the traffic signals
no one was ready
for their danger
no one was wary
one imaginary child
in the motionless swing
who was raising a whistle
to his lips and smiling
(prev. pub. in Sou’Wester, 1970)
After Victor Brauner’s Transmutation Onirique
And now you stare out of yourself—thought after
thought. surrendered and evolved to this. Shadow
after shadow lags behind—solidified into stone—
unchiseled by evolution—now you have eyes
for everywhere your thought decides—you are
unwavering with resolve, with new direction.
Further and further
you evolve until you are reminiscent
of stone—of shadow—of flesh—of mind.
Somehow, you are still child, strange and un-
reachable, endless of being, full of
sensation and desire, hungry for your life—
still, you advance into the levels of light
and light’s structure, the pinprick center of all
there is, and still you advance into your full being.
Maybe it was the smell of the bread
that drew me; it wafted all over the
neighborhood—and I searched—
and followed, but never could find
Thank you, Joyce Odam, for today’s riffs on our Seed of the Week, Appetites! I, too, have searched and searched—but never found—The Bakery.
Our new Seed of the Week is “Lonesome”. A lot of people are lonesome this time of year—maybe not you, but surely you’ve been to Lonely-town and can write about it. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, hoping you’re not lonely these days ~
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