Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Chimera, The Mystery

 —Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam,
Sacramento, CA
—Photos and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam
—Joyce Odam

I am in the pavilion, selling tickets.
The tour-boat is filling up behind me,
the expectant faces all turned in my
direction, but my back is turned to

them. Husbands come up and want to
marry me. I am sixteen. I am in the
summer, but it is cold. Something is
wrong with the weather. People are

shivering on the boat on the restless
motion of the water. The docks are
struggling. Soon the captain will ring
his bell and the boat will chug out into

the chilly bay. The faces will all be
turned toward the sea. I will become
a receding time-figure to them; so will
they to me. The day empties. The year

slips away. I am standing in the empty
pavilion, a roll of red tickets in my hand.  
The dock rocks and creaks. I wait all my
life, but they do not return.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/15/21)
 In The Mirror

—Joyce Odam

There is
too too many of me
this morning.
I am plural of mind.
I am at odds with myself.
Too many of me
look back
through the mirror.
Too many of me
look in.
I wash my faces
with hands that
wear strange rings.
I know that below
the line of glass
I have no body.
I float in the room
like an incompleted drawing.
There is no touch in
my glistening fingers.
Now it is raining
in the room.
The sound of it
runs down the glass.
The ceiling light
is burning through my skin.
The paint of which I am made
is mixed too thin
and I am melting
out of time.
Some oblivious thought
keeps running
into my eyes.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/11/15)
At The Shadow


are shadows to be known
far in the corner-edge
where the sun sets first

enclosing all
that lingers
out of some dare

or curiosity—
out of some line
of an unfinished poem,

reluctant to continue,
or out of the shadow
that hushes with the flowers—

what sort of garden holds
such mystery
from innocent intruders,

only there to steal—
or only mean to steal
a single flower out of so many . . . ?

—Joyce Odam

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/3/20; 3/30/21)

By the Stream by Paul Gauguin, Autumn 1885
—Joyce Odam

so thick
with summer,
ablaze with color
from standing so still
in the still air, a tree not
to be stared at, else risk
turning blind, a tree as red
as the sun at sundown on a
hot, hot day, until it can only
be seen as a red blur, mute, and
lovely, and envied for the fusion
of its leaves, which stir, which stir,
rustle and stir, as spectacularly in the
laden atmosphere as an irrepressible
from praise . . . .
 Over There

After “Silence” by William Carlos Williams
—Joyce Odam

Something as silent as a whir of thought
in its passing—

as bird shadow, peripheral,
and slow—

as the moment is slow
in its impression—

what else is there to note
and lose before the loss is realized?

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/15/16)


—Joyce Odam

The bird has no name
so I call him Silence.
I make up my own prayers for him.

The bird has no eyes
so I call him Dark.
He looks at me through color.

The bird has no mind
so I call him Oblivion.
He sings and sings.

(prev. pub. in Hibiscus Magazine, 1988,
and in Medusa’s Kitchen, 3/15/16)

—Robin Gale Odam

The dream is the house filled with books full of
The bindings are worn and the margins are marked
In light pencil and referenced on strips of scrap
Inserted between every chapter—the bookmarks
Are old and the cases are heavy with volumes
Of whatever dreams could be captured and

Chimera, the fantasy. Wraith in a trance.
The specter of hunger. The cases are heavy
With endings and bookmarks all scribbled in
To anchor the reference to memory—scribbles of  
Marks long forgotten—what is a dream after all,
Past recollection—the cases are heavy.

Chimera, the mystery scribbled in shorthand.
The specter of hunger. The wraith in a trance.
Up Here

The Moon-Woman Cuts the Circle,
Painting by Jackson Pollock
—Robin Gale Odam

Precision bears down into continuum,
the section and resection of the cell—

the first ripple, the electric spark of
dawn, the red river of memory, the blue
vapor of breath—the violence of divinity,
mystery in disguise—the day, the night,
the death . . .

—Robin Gale Odam

What if you meant to say a thread of
uncertain synonyms for if and then,
and then I looked away—a fine strand
of twisted fibers—

I tried to write this letter, I thought
I heard you say,

for if and then, as statement of fact—
and then you looked away

—starlings in the sky again, the flurry
of startle—

evening divides into two evenings.
If you arrive then I shall go.
 Worrisome Dreaming

—Joyce Odam

I own the century.
I stand on the pinnacle of life’s expansion.

I wrap my arms around the width of my illusion.
Skies are empty of falling. I have wings.

My smile covers my face
for you to see.

I never surrendered my bitterness and question
to your confusion—I am that complicated.

I am the pose of patience and observation
of heart and soul.

I have great offerings of wordless meanings
and gestures.

I tremble with light
that steals my shadow.

I am without substance now.
I am all mind—

separated and combined.
Am I the answer?

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 12/31/19)


Today’s LittleNip:

at the mansion gate
in the scribing of my death   
I will turn and weep

riven by the ghost of shade
light cascading to my feet

—Robin Gale Odam


Our thanks to the Odam poets for this morning’s fine poetry, and to Joyce Odam for equally fine visuals! Our Seed of the Week was "Ornery", and I dunno—Rasta the Roosta looks pretty ornery to me~

Our new Seed of the Week is “The Unexpected”. 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.

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


 Chimera, The Mystery
—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

 A reminder that
Poets & Writers Workshop meets
in Cameron Park tonight, 5:30pm.
For info about this 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
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Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
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