CAPES AND CLOTHING
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
She puts on the cape of swans.
She puts on the cape of darkness.
She puts on the cape of dim music.
She puts on the whispering cape.
She has the songs already in the chamber
When she fires. They look for corners
In the night where they may hide as darkling beetles
Do. She puts on the chorus of stridulations.
It is so easy to be distracted, to look away,
To lose sight of her movements. She wants
It that way and drives her car as if it were
A moth finally escaped from the flame charms.
The sea horns begin to make their low pitched
Bellows. “There are dangerous rocks here,”
They announce without any words at all.
Everyone cowers in fear, the sound of the waves
Crashing against the cliffside. Let us hurry.
Bring the instruments. Find where the words
Are kept, what shapes may be noticed in deepest
Night, where the moon is resting right now.
She puts on the hood of stars.
She puts on the shoes of the sylph-footed.
She makes the gestures learned from the old days.
She slips away before we ever get near her.
Put on your poetry shoes and hie thee out to some of the many poetry readings this weekend—you'll see where the words are kept, including the new Shakespeare at the Arboretum troupe at UC Davis. There are plenty of events between now and Sunday; check the b-board for your itinerary.
Medusa’s bottom has been “freshened”—the bottom half of our b-board, that is. First, scroll down the skinny blue box past the numerous postings to Bob in the weeds; then keep going past Ron Peat’s new book, past fandrick’s computer blowing its brains out, past Richard, past the heli-pig (got anything to send him?). You’ll come to Terry Moore at the State Fair. First admire him and all the poets you can visit in the Poet-to-Poet section (and send us your link if you haven’t already). Then pass the Snake and his MANY, MANY Hot Links (over a hundred—stop and check out a few on the way), then you’ll come to instructions about how to access past poems, plus Medusa’s Rap-Sheet—a fancy/silly way of labeling our Archives. Finally, the end of the b-board (Medusa’s Ultimate Bottom) has our Life in Pollock Pines and Fellow Travelers on Planet Earth sections (thanks, D.R., for the phantastic photo!). Enjoy!—And don’t forget to send us photos, links, and where you’re being published. Medusa doesn’t want you to forget her bottom…section.
And thanks to D.R. Wagner and Katy Brown for today's contributions.
THE ROOM WITH THE ORACLE
First the light blinks on and then
It’s gone again like kissing
In the dark.
The evening is cool against the skin.
It touches music with its sensuousness
And persists until desire can be woken.
The rest of the evening seems abandoned
Even before one can live in it.
Objects bump into each other
Never leaving the place totally
Deserted. We feel free to wander
Here. There are mirrors and
Ways to travel the streets that must
Be discovered. One cannot ask
For directions except to try to win
Favor of a lovely woman or handsome
Man. They tremble as if surprised
Whenever we speak.
Never touching anything we proceed
To the edge. Perhaps if untouched
All will look this way forever.
THE CLOTHING OF THE MORNING
The room seems very tiny
As if it could not contain
such a deep sorrow so easily.
The hole extends through the floor
With drifts of dull colored lights
Waiting around the edges of the sore.
We can’t wait any longer. We have
Seen the loved ones taken away
Into the night and have chased
After them as far as this room.
We will find a way to enter the room.
We have already begun to learn
The speech of the guardians at the doors.
One of them asked if we have keys,
Another if we knew where the drinking
Liquid was kept. We told them yes
And led them to the desert edge.
Three of us entered the room
At that time. We could hear
The weeping. We must trust
That everyone is telling the truth.
And singing. Singing. And I am
Singing and I was wearing that same
Clothing the morning wears when
It has something to show to us
That is beyond compare and we
Know it. We wish to repeat
It each time we wear these things.
Having coffee near the dooryard
The moss-covered skull so green,
So beautiful, holding the whitest
Pearl in its teeth like the truth.
We can walk here once again. Messages
From flights of geese sent to the seasons.
We climb the little hill just near
The dingle and recognize everything.
So perfect is the singing we are
Able to invent new words against it.
PAIN IN ITS OWN CITY
They have left us alone.
The ice itself is quiet,
No shrieking or whooping move
Through it. Even the wind has left
It alone like the end of a story.
The skin begins to seem less
Of a barrier and more like chordal
Movements in an adagio for strings.
Suddenly there is plenty of room left to just
Sit with the others by the sides
Of the road and listen to the questions
Posed to us by the travelers.
We do not wonder any longer.
This place was once a city.
When we look now it still seems so.
We can see the ghost buildings through
The rubble, think the dark crows, swans,
The crying of the children, the kind of dreaming
Worth remembering. We have come too far
To leave this place now. Some still
Fight with each other for a place
To sleep or possession of a blanket.
We look toward the palace, wondering
What it will be like there. No one
Remembers being unhappy. Every room
Seems full and bound to memory
As waves to the flat sea surrounding
Us. Superstitions abound, collecting
Souls to form desires one can still
See as they take on faces, erase others
Or are erased themselves. They mingle
With their pain to give it form
To fill the places where the soul suddenly
Becomes empty and obvious, left
On a corner or in a doorway without
Any of its moments intact. They disrobe
And claim to be princes and high-ranking
Women who came here long ago and now
Possess all the things they see around them.
We see sand and those things that cause
Unhappiness. We wish them possibilities.
They truly think we are only songs.
Ginger and cotton,
Pistachio nuts, poppy seed,
Nutmegs and raisins,
Muslin, red and gold bolts.
A vocabulary of things.
Our conversation could not
Find words and did not use
Them when they could be found.
A drape of fabric was more
Articulate than talking of its
Form could ever be. Rain
Was always welcome. It made
Great gestures that caused listening
From both of us. We undid
Mornings and stumbled to our beds
Describing with a sweeping hand or
By pointing at the moon behind
A screen of leaves showing only bits
And splatter of the night in
The trees. It was more than enough.
They were our cargoes. We took them
To bed with us, our heads swimming
With dreams even before we laid them down.
The question becomes: what is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What is the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood? These are the things that concern my work today.