Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Half of Any Damn Thing

I Love the Birds in the Background
—Photo of Early Painting of Joyce 
by JoAnne Lawrence 

* * *

—Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam,
Sacramento, CA
—Visuals by Joyce Odam
—Joyce Odam

The rooster crows.
It is dark outside.
It is morning.

A second rooster crows.
Its voice a mechanical echo.
The first rooster listens.

It is morning.
It is dark outside.
The roosters take turns crowing.

(prev. pub. in
Brevities, January-February 2021;
Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/29/23)
A Long Time

—Joyce Odam

From a soft distance I hear the old rooster
crowing again to the dark morning hour
and I listen awhile and
drift back to sleep
a few minutes
later and
wonder how
he can live to be
so old—these years and years
ago, and I hear the same old dog—
softly yelping in the same old distance,
and I sleep again and the same old rooster
keeps crowing till sunrise and I waken.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 12/13/16;
Song of the San Joaquin, 1/6/17)


—Joyce Odam       

The rooster looks hard at me
with his unreal eye,
his small head
jerking with thought.
I will have to let him in
for he wants my house.

He wants
to come in to be
close to my guitar.
He wants to crow with it,
for he loves
all music that is
not intentional with death.
He is a pet,
a friend,
a guest,
white-feathered, gold-footed dancer,
shitting upon my rug
as if all innocence and welcome
were his right.

He waits on the porch
where the mirror is.
He is vain
and rightly so.
He is waiting for the
music to begin. 
Turn Back the Years
—Joyce Odam

Old woman of myself, how slow you are today,
your limp too practical for dance or play, your
mouth a mumble of sigh and groan with all your
tired news and complaint; your eye inspired
to inward look. Such reverie… such sorting out…
to pull the years to such thin climb; years that ravel
and become this flimsy day.

Oh, I know how you think, old frail, old Grump.
You want to tell yourself some new rehearse: but
now—your hip, your knee, your neck, your hand—
all ache with some arthritic stiffness which you
must smooth out. Oh well, oh well, you say, with
resignation, and laugh at how acceptance is the
rule and lesson now.  Oh well.


—Robin Gale Odam

I strike a match.
The light wavers the dark.

I take your guitar out,
study the fretboard, remember
the creek that used to be filled with

the songs of hundreds of frogs, next to
the house, and you taught me that chord.

I told you it was too far of a stretch for me,
you told me to reach for it and to hear the
frogs, they only come once a year—

it made no sense to me so I went to the
kitchen. You wrote the song.


—Joyce Odam
Blue fringe petticoat edging. Orange
layers in petal pattern. Rust detail at
the throat. Length not quite long but
longer than average—shorter than
extreme, sleeve similarity for cape
effect—tighter weave for warmth.
Fashionable drape of blue fringe.
Model   struts,   pauses,   struts,
pauses,  struts, turns her head
a bit—her eye on you. She
cackles, and scratches
at the ground.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 10/6/20)
Song Bird

—Robin Gale Odam

old cat lies in stippled
sunlight in the grass . . .

young bird serenades,
dismissing the curious stalking
of her hatchlings last twilight . . .


—Joyce Odam

I cannot name the egg again.
It remains as mysterious as ever.
I, making ordinary breakfast
of the egg,
never consider what I am doing.
Sometimes I try to be talented with it,
cracking it open with one hand
and dropping it into the pan
without breaking it.
Nests of it turn under chickens
into a tedium of miracles
which I can hear forming.
If it floats, it is bad.
It can be saved for throwing.
Original Chicken pecks her eggs
with her curving and yellow beak
that is hard as a bone.
The eggs of the goose are stacked into
a mountain.
She will not hatch them.
I am surrounded by eggs.
I use them for symbols.
Three ducks so far have given us
three sets of ducklings.
One or two of each set always drowned,
though I always knew
that ducks always take to water.
At dusk, we gather the eggs,
stealing them from all the intention.
We go where it is dark and full of straw
and take them.

(prev. pub. in Permafrost, Fall, 1980;
Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/15/10; 12/20/11; 4/2/13)
The Moon Is Heavy
—Joyce Odam

Today they cart the moon away
for it is heavy
and night is through with it.

It was a pale moon after all…
no match for dawn with its slow insistence
and gray intensity.

The rooster knows.
All night he tried to tell us while we slept.
He crowed and crowed.

How far we have come depends on love
and how much more we need of it…
like this moon…fading into thinnest silver.

(prev. pub. in CSPS Newsletter, Feb. 1995;
One Dog Press, Dec. 1997;
Senior Magazine, Aug. 2002;
Medusa’s Kitchen, 12/8/15; 5/4/21)
Call Me
—Joyce Odam

When the dawn begins to pale the sky—whatever
its hour, winter and summer—daylight or daylight
saving time, and I hear the old rooster crowing, and
crowing, and crowing from some loneliness, and
the winter thermostat clicks on to heat the rooms as
if the day wants to begin itself, and I must choose
whether to turn back to my book or watch the sky
with a duty-look, feeling that I should get up, but
grow suddenly sleepy and want to turn out the light
and drift back down, and another rooster answers
the first one, and the heater clicks off, and the hens
begin to cluck, and other sounds begin, and I must
decide—for the sky’s full light is catching up.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/16/18)
 Ever So

—Joyce Odam

Ice in the moonlight—
the stars breaking like glass,

old, cold moonlight—
old rooster of the neighborhood.

In the protesting mouth of silence,
seven words left to say :

Innocent morning—
once more stricken with eyes.
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/28/011;
8/26/14; 08/10/21)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

i look at the mirror,
step back, slip quietly away

it is only reflection and
just under my breath i don’t

understand half of any damn
thing anymore


Spring Chickens Joyce and Robin Odam have taken our Seed of the Week (Spring Chickens) and run with it, and we thank them for that—no April Fools, they!

Spring is a time of Abundance, and that’s our new Seed of the Week—“Abundance”. 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. And see every Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry form challenges, including those of the Ekphrastic type.

Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.


An Abundance of Blossoms
—Public Domain Photo

A reminder that 
Cameron Park Library
Poets and Writers workshop

meets today (5:30pm)
with a change of site, moving to the
Moonraker Millhouse (this week only).
Also tune into  
Susan Rich and Diane Seuss 
reading on Zoom, 5pm,
for Two Sylvias Press Weekly Muse.
For info about these and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
send poetry and/or photos and artwork
to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 LittleSnake cultivating abundance