—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
Oh, the ghost in the cornfield,
in the night,
under the full moon it loves,
does a white-moon-dance
with its sleeves
from its fixed position
though it tries to leap freely
from its ties.
Oh, it shudders and cries
with its wind-hollow voice
and beacons its eyes
to the eyes of the windows.
It knows there are watchers there
who admire it,
and it flaps and moans the louder
until it is even more of a rag.
And tomorrow it will deny all this.
Tomorrow it will merely flutter
from inside out
and simply hang on a stick
like a farmer’s joke
and twitch back
at the crows.
•••November 5-8: Autumn Writing Retreat for Women at St. Dorothy's Rest in Camp Meeker. Located in West Sonoma County, this program focuses on the writer's spirit and heart; we'll use meditation, guided imagery, and nature-based practices. Small circle limited to eight women; lots of time and space to write and share. Beginning, experienced and exploring writers welcome.
To enroll, please contact Susan at 707-824-6886 or email@example.com or visit www.susanhagen.com/. [I know, it's kind of late for the first one, but I just got this...]
Once when I was nearly young, and politics
were hung like outcomes on the vital hour,
I went where celebrators poured champagne
in paper cups. The work was done. The heroes
were not there. And it was raining in the streets.
I was in costume, a vinyl hat disguising
half my face. I drank champagne. The warlock
smiled. I am a priest, he said – though not with
words. I laughed. I followed him around to watch
him look at me. I am your mother, Priest, I smiled.
The streets that led us later, led us wild,
looking for a place that was not there.
The one we found was frowning at the door –
we were so loud – so full of night rain,
paper cup champagne, and mood of victory.
How late we came to endings,
to nothing we could share. It toned us down.
The highs were only moment-high
and must be fallen from. Night took us back –
to all its rain – not quite as happy as we came.
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
I dreamed you beside me in the morning,
The winds of sleep still rolling through
Your muscles, fields of diamonds cascading
Your dreams, white water on the white of oblivion.
You did not see me as I lay beside you, watching
Dawn slip across your skin. You did not know
I kissed you then or that you were other than
Your present self. I know and only I can know for sure.
I was surprised in this dreaming, dreaming that
You dreamed about me. Who knows what highways
Sleep will let us travel? All our lovers in their cars,
Zipping through the chemicals that unlock door
Upon door and let us see these loved ones again,
Living or dead. I dreamed that we were loving,
Making love with all attendant skies and being touched
By angels as we were there together, again and again,
Falling in and out of sleep, first you there and then
Again you not. I spread my hands upon the whiteness
Of the sheets and they were flat and cool, not you at all
And of more substance than such dreams.
This morning you were gone. You were birdsong
On the electric wires, the net of energy that surrounds
Us in our cities. You were slow breezes off the delta,
A dancing in the leaves of the trees, the sound of the mind
As it clears all sleep from its fine sifting screens, a moment
When, before the water hit my face, when you were truly
Real and I did not know that such a thing as this were
We have been walking out here
For a very long time. The dark
Colored glass of this valley
Was making us sick. It might
Have been the smell that roiled
Through dressed like a five year
Yearning for blind angels to
Ministrate to us about the great
God, she looked
So beautiful as the ornaments
Of sleep crept into her face.
We couldn’t stay here any longer
Let alone wait for the great
Wings to show us what was
Really meant by those circles
Beaten into the stones telling
Us to love all things. There was
Unrest in the weather.
We watched them cock their
Rifles and come down the rows.
against white siding
rattling the wind's name
under loose windows