Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Primed For Dreaming

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

At once I know them,
by their weeping.

Voices abandoned by souls,    
by fathers, by time itself.

Why do I love them still—
patiently, in spite of—

these haunted voices.
I listen.  Whisper.  Answer?

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/23/15)
As Long As I Dream

—Joyce Odam

I am all memory. I am small. I am in the house of
roundness. Rooms swallow me even as I enter an-
other of them. Walls mute my meaning with their
own importance. As long as I dream I may stay
here, season after season of my life. I am the child
of darkness. Daylight frightens me. I stand away
from windows with their harsh reflections. No one
else has ever lived here. How have I created this
out of my mother’s endless escape from every
threat of rootedness. My doll sits on a couch facing
me with accusation. Its arms out-stretch… out-
stretch… but I can never cross the distance it takes
to get to her. I am the doll. I am the distance. I 
never find myself.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 10/21/14; 7/2/19)  

—Joyce Odam

She stood in gray daylight
in shifting shadow,
in ritual of en-
that it rained…
that the hour was
leaning into darkness…
she motioned the world by…

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 7/2/19) 

—Joyce Odam

Time has brought me here—unknown hill
and sky—unknown hour of when.

An only tree looks familiar. I walk toward it.
Uphill.  Downhill is too dark.

How can this be morning—there is no clock.
I am thrust into timelessness.

I listen for birds in the tree.
Clouds hang still.

The tree rustles its leaves.
A voice-sound forms a question.

Ask and ask—I turn from my direction,
look down at the tops of trees.

A forest,
tightly held together by the silences.

I shout for an echo—call out,
call out—no echo in the density.

I have been asleep, and I have wakened
Where is the sleep tunnel?

(prev. pub in Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/18/20) 
As One

—Joyce Odam

all night the small rowboat drifts on the golden
of moonlight, pulling its blue shadow silently along
as the land stretches into horizon after horizon . . .
perhaps the boat is dreaming of the sea
which it has never seen . . .
     it winds and winds
          where the moon’s light winds,
                 under the fast-moving clouds,
                         pull their wet shadows
                                  over the shimmering ground

    and from a shrinking window of a lonely house a
          dream-child is floating out into the full moon
               night and following the boat in the stream
                     of light and going wherever it goes . . .

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 10/13/20)

After Self Portrait by Pablo Picasso, 1971
—Robin Gale Odam

I will paint my portrait in this hour
before I fully wake. I choose the line
of dark night for separation, the flick of
green for eulogy, and ochre for my mouth,

for the earthy kiss. The prominent nostril
is for the drawing of a breath, twilight blue
for pondering, and the crown of crimson
for the glaze of sun behind the horizon.

The trace of stubble is from the
night I leave behind. I do not recall
the color of my eyes. The dream is dark.


color of her eyes
even in his jealousy
he cannot recall

—Robin Gale Odam

(prev. pub. in
Brevities, October 2016)

—Joyce Odam

Focus, as what is missing from the view :
the blue window feigning distance
with only the sea as perspective—

except for motion, which is of the sea,
held level for a moment
where the horizon flattens out,

where faces of the missing
appear in the swarming shadows,
withholding what they know.

One figure remains at the round window
to question this, someone curious
about the levels of reality—

the way what is locked in,
and what is locked out,
are the same;

the way the horizon holds level
against the rhythmic balancing of the sea—
the same as want against need.
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 9/10/19; 7/6/20) 
Undisturbed by Dreams

After Moon Sleeping by Maki Horanai
—Robin Gale Odam

She is swathed in a balance of
comfort, the night’s black threads
deftly draped around the curve of her.
Her eyes are hidden in the painted sky.
The colors of heaven are primed for her
dreaming—the moon is sleeping. 
Of A Future Time

After Angel on Cliff Edge by Maxfield Parrish
—Joyce Odam

From a high place—teetering to the sky—as to the
sea below—with motionless wings—with spirit to
fly—though hesitance warns and courage falters
for the lone angel on the brink of eternity—made
of agelessness and fervor for the tenuous life
that balances there—basked in arduous
clouds with only precipice and
brink to inform the senses;
the invariable horizon
filling space, and
time, and
the silent
of the lone figure,
while three gulls soar and
circle the quiet sea that beckons so quietly below.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

My mother named me happiness.
Shall I believe her?

Time passes through me
like poured water.

Gold fastens to my sand.
I gleam with pleasure.

(prev. pub. in
Poetalk, July 1993)


Our Seed of the Week was The Unexpected, and we send thank-yous to the Odam poets for their fine poetry today, and to Joyce Odam for her fine-as-always visuals. So much stunning blues and greens!

Our new Seed of the Week is “Fathering”. 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.


—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

A reminder that
Second Tuesday Poetry
meets in Modesto tonight, 7pm,
featuring Rooja Mohassessy
and Tamer Mostafa.
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
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
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