May 2, 2022

Carolyn Adams — Art and Poetry

Carolyn Adams — Art and Poetry

“Epiphany”

In the Absence of Red Alarms

My blood sisters remember 
what I’ve almost forgotten, 
the menses that measure our time.  
I’ve lapsed my membership
in that club, I travel free 
from the 30-day clock.
My time is counted differently now.

Days are years, years are millennia,
millennia are without measure at all.
There is no monthly debt; all accounts
have been balanced.  I spend myself
as I wish now, with no child
or threat of one.  
I’ve reached a bargain 
with the planets, their moons,
the sky and all of its diamonds.
I won’t wish on anything anymore.
I have what I need.

Days pass quietly here
in the corner of the universe 
where I savor the slight air
of a spring night,
where my steps have taken 
60 years to make sense.  
I don’t even drink anymore.
I don’t require those toxins 
that once made me
talkative with strangers.
I talk when I want to, I laugh
when I want.  
I listen when wild gusts
threaten my house,
but I don’t worry 
about the wind or the weather.  
What breaks can be mended.

I’m free now, drunk 
with the wind and the silence,
here in the absence 
of red alarms.



“Crown”
Cassini Dances with Saturn

A necklace of summer storms 
pearls his northern hemisphere.
He’s in stripes for the season,
which happens to last 29 years.
Asked to dance, he dons
his perfect blue hexagon crown.
You can’t touch him though,
his skin is a mist.
Eighty two moons
surround him, a persistent
entourage, and their flat faces
ward off any advances.

Finally, you’re close enough
to feel his perfect gravities,
his icy blast moods.
You memorize his sleek
contours.  

About the time you begin
to learn what might melt him,
you find the end
for you is inevitable.
What kind of rendezvous 
would include a death knell?

But he’s what you came 
here for.  
With one look
at his mutable face,
you pirouette into his arms, 
knowing his embrace 
will kill you.

“Bloodrush”
Blue

In Houston, 
the dog slept in the truckbed,
but by Galveston,
he was gone.

Blue had one brown eye, one blue.
When he looked at you,
you were drawn to that
blue ice.

A stray, we’d given him food,
a place to sleep
in the sawdust of the shop.
Nothing much more.

Standing there on the beach,
we tried to guess
the how and why of his leaving.

Maybe he let someone
lift him from the truck
when we stopped for food.
Maybe they wanted him 
more than he wanted us.

Or he jumped out 
on his own at that stop,
silent, urged, glad
to fend for himself.

Or he leapt
as we sped along,
into all that highway wind.
Dreaming his way 
to a place to call home,
a desire so needful,
he couldn’t stay.


Carolyn Adams
“Radio Waves”
As Winter Closes 

In a room without history,
where the latest hour
opens a new revelation
of finitude, a threat of
a final ending,
he puts away his dark pencil.
He erases the sketches 
of anger drawn in hard lines,  
decides to surrender
the coinage he’s kept
for so long.
To let the orphan of his heart
remember what it means
to open.

As winter closes its old book,
he waits for the coming
of spring, summer, and all
the other changes in weather.
For the flush of lush leaves
in a wash of light,
for a blooming warmth
in clean air.

It doesn’t matter if rain 
will come with its stone crescendos.
It doesn’t matter 
if the goodbyes will be long
and painful.
He’s found the picture
he wants to live in,
the place
he can call home.


Carolyn Adams
“Art Deco”
Scoliotic

I’ve listened to the small sounds
of this intricate body.  
This is no silent landscape.
The soft push of blood in a pulse,
the metronome click of joints 
when I climb the stairs,
the small explosions deep inside
when the hammer hits the anvil.

On this map of skin, 
count the addition of fresh
strawberry moles, 
like a chess game 
mid-play.
You could travel blue rivers 
in my wrists,
trace the sinuous island chain 
of my question-mark spine.

In spite of these wonders,
you really wouldn’t notice me.

Supine or standing, 
I am parenthetical.


Carolyn Adams
“Volcano”
The Problem Dream

I have a problem to solve,
and if I don’t fix it,
I’ll fall apart.
I ask for your help.

But you look
to random things.
Screen resolution.
The dust on a small surface.
An answering text.

Why won’t you help me?
Why?
What is broken in you,
that you don’t care?
And why am I just now seeing this
after all this time?

How mistaken have I been
about everything else
I think I know?

I shrug on a coat,
smelly, threadbare,
garish with all my past mistakes,
and I’m forced to walk
through town.
I don’t want anyone else
to see me this way,
with all my errors in judgement
so visible.
But everyone stares.
The heat of recognition
embeds them in my skin.

Carolyn Adams
“Van Gogh As If”
The Dream About Marie

She’s the queen of her supper club,
silver couples who convene 
an elegant banquet once a week.
Tall, handsome women in long, sparkling gowns.
Men with mustaches, in uniforms with
red tailcoats, gold braid.
Marie finds me a dress, a floor-length
lavender gown with sequins and bugle beads.
The white-cloth tables are heavy
with French cuisine, silver, crystal, good china.
After dinner, we all move
to the gymnasium next door.
Everyone picks up a musical instrument,
and one man walks to the end
of the room, far away.
He sits behind a bass drum,
picks up the mallets, and sets the rhythm.
We all join in,
raucously.

***

Carolyn Adams’ poetry and art have appeared in Steam Ticket, Cimarron Review, Dissident Voice, and Blueline Magazine, among others. Having authored four chapbooks, her full-length volume is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. She has been twice nominated for both Best of the Net and a Pushcart prize. 

Fictional Cafe
#art#carolyn adams#menopause#poetry#Texas
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