Joanne Bodin • 3 poems

Waking Into Reality

waking into reality happens 
when your nail polish peels just enough
to reveal the underside of what you have
concealed for years
when one day your serving of mashed potatoes
reminds you of your grandfather's stories of
Russian pogroms, and your hot lemon tea brings
back childhood memories of your grandmother's
morning ritual of hot water with lemons squeezed
from trees in their back yard 
in Boyle Heights where they lived among other
Jewish immigrants who came to America 
to escape religious persecution
the avocado tree next to the wooden front porch
of their East Los Angeles home used to be
your look-out when you wanted to search beyond
the Yiddish and Russian accents and instead found
cellular memories that had congealed to remind us
that we are more than the lines around objects 
that make up our daily routine
more than the anesthetized ache of time
moving through the hour glass as we disappear 
into the mist of ancestral ties that bind us

Built in the nineteen-hundreds, the Venice Canals, reminiscent of Italy,
reside at Venice Beach near Santa Monica, California

brackish tendrils of ocean water creep along 
beachfront property near coastlines of wet sand 
canals lined with wooden houses now in disrepair
wooden bridges form arched spaces,
passageways to her life on the other side 
she dips her feet into the briny water
wonders when the Mallards will return to lay eggs 
in mud-soaked nests along water's edge
flathead minnow swim deep below the surface—undisturbed
impassable sidewalks lead toward interrupted views
stop her from wandering too far
it is summer, and morning glories transform the waterways
into a playground of purple and pink—but for her,
it seems easier to settle for shrouded fog that twists
and turns along tendrils of illusion where night and day merge
into pools of murky by-products that quench her passion
in winter months, she visits the canals when mist forms 
along edges of salty walkways that lead to nowhere in particular
in her world of canals, it is only a matter of time 
until she navigates her exit
she must wait for the Mallards' return, a comforting sign that weaves 
through chimera like sharp edges that cut through barnacles of apathy
still clinging to wooden posts deep beneath the ocean

(Canals was first published in Glitterwolf: Issue Seven, January 2015)


she was alone when the carousel stopped spinning
the gold ring still out of reach
silence in a weightless world
where the newly opened French cafe
had an empty table but the chairs were too high
she ordered a latte and waited
the sounds of indoor clamor muffled inside her head
while she watched, detached
stranger in a strange land that looked slightly familiar
even the smells had off-scents
that reminded her of Telegraph Avenue
when she'd walk from the dorms to her early class at Berkeley
stop at the Forum for a croissant before the yellow busses arrived
and helmeted police moved through the student protestors 
like a swarm of black locust
she returned to her apartment and dreamed of corral snakes
escaping out of a canvas bag, slither around her bed 
and wait while she slept
but now that the carousel had stopped 
even snake dreams seemed palatable and the double latte
at the French café had a swirl of cream that reminded her
of the one curl on her baby brother's head

Joanne Bodin

Joanne Bodin Ph.D., is an award-winning author, poet, and retired educator. Her book of poetry, Piggybacked, was a finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards. Her novel, Walking Fish, won the New Mexico Book Awards and the International Book Awards in gay/lesbian fiction.  She is past vice president of the New Mexico State Poetry Society, and is on the boards of Southwest Writers and the New Mexico Orchid Guild.  Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications including: La Llorona Poetry Anthology, JB Stillwater Magazine, and Adobe Walls 5. Her new novel, Shadow Dreamer, a dark psychological thriller about the esoteric world of orchids, is now in publication.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s