Musée Rodin, 1972 & The Blinds


Musée Rodin, 1972

I saw this body
I am sure of it.
Flesh and bronze.
In one long stare,
In fixated, circular study,
In love with this thoracic cage,
Vertical breakline, rack
Of ribs, sinews strong,
Tying life and love together.
I learned that I am beautiful.

Horse master I,
Naked gladiator.
Learned that to turn an inch, no, less,
Reveals new chest, broad back,
Inspires new desire,
Insists on being touched,
Calls to place your hand.

Waistline reveals
Torso falling into trunks
Of trees, godless, legless
Hunks of strength
To stroke and be subsumed into,
Sucked up into its bronze.
Man is an animal.

Now I sit and weep at my disaster.
It came to me again last year.
The captured read the history of the captors.
This headless brute.
Its indifference.
I cannot find
My first true love of mine own self
Still to be true.




The Blinds

I see my plants on a windowsill.
The blinds are down, day just rising.
They seek the light that leaks in through
the slats. I feel them seduce it; they
long to luxuriate.

They beseech, implore me,
barely turning toward me,
let in the light of day.
I ponder, as their owner, how
I want them to dance for me first.

They lean forward, seeming to
need the light to dance, when they will,
in their blooming, flower and wave.
No, you are mine, I think,
dance first, then I will give.
They do not dance, they only strain,
a silent moan.
They get no light from me
for their beauty.

Why must they thirst, must they bide,
while we sit like a stone on the heart,
play in the dark with
our discontent,
unaware their gifts
the air we breathe?
Tell me to whom the sun belongs?



James Olwell was born and raised in NYC where he directed and organized the Irish Arts Center from 1972-78. A Canadian since 1980, he worked as a professional community organizer in Montréal with the CLSC NDG–Montréal-Ouest and the McGill Middle East Program, among others, and won the Grand Citoyen award of the Arrondissement Cote des Neiges/Notre Dame-de-Grace in 2013. He co-founded the 2 Susan Poetry Circle and Speakup, the Montréal Inter-Active Poetry Exchange. His first handbound, illustrated chapbook of poetry, Crossings, was published with the Iron Rabbit Bindery in 2016, and his Vietnam War era memoire, “The Luck of the Draw,” appeared in Narratively earlier this year. An appreciative member of the Quebec Writers’ Foundation (QWF), he has been published locally by JONAHmagazine and is delighted to appear in Montréal Serai.