When I came out of the poem
It became possible to see myself
Coming up from the far countries
That bordered those realms
Where singing was the circumstance
And dreaming was the tale itself
That could not be undone and suddenly
I was song to my own self.
I could look in to the charm
The poem depended upon,
Could dangle from it without harm
And move back and forth from form to form
And still be the part of the poem
That meant, when it spoke of
The magic that might follow all
As we came from sleep
With dream on our lips as tales
That call back unto themselves
Repeating ever and forever,
Glass upon glass as in The
Thousand and One Nights,
Repeating myself assiduously
And with the confidence
Of a great queen's lips
That this queer and particular
Danger is none to fear
But “Time's winged chariot
Hurrying near” and traveling,
Oneself upon the water
Pushing at the weir
That is the world transformed.
The whole into a further
Magic thing and finally clear
Becomes a song to sing.
For a long time nobody said
Anything that could be called
Sensible about the way morning
Had opened its kit bag and just
Given up the ghost.
Fog and damp streets, soft
And capable of swallowing
Sound within fifty feet of
Anyone at all. We could pass
One another and there were no
Footsteps. Cars slid out of
The gray with no sound at all
Until they were directly in front
Of one. Then the statement was
Sullen and could easily have been a lie.
I waited with you sitting on the curb
Near the Parkway knowing the gorge
Was quite close but without a clue
Where its edge might be.
I began to construct a story about
A people who only existed in
These weather conditions and
Would disappear with the clearing
Of the fog.
It began to sound like a religion
To me after awhile. I listened
As carefully as possible to
Discern the sound of the river
Down at the bottom of the gorge.
There was absolutely no sound.
There was nothing to see.
Nothing had ever happened in
The world. It had always
Looked like this gray wool
Over everything. There was no direction
At all, toward or away from anywhere.
We waited on that curb for what
Seemed like an hour. Once a bird
Landed about a foot from where
We were. It didn’t even notice
That we were speaking to each other.
When it left it went to
Some other world we would
Never know. I was afraid
To say goodbye to you.
We might never see one
Another again. I struck
A match to light a cigarette.
Even the flame was gray.
THE SHUTTERS BANGING
I used to think that it was
Wind that pulled my face
Away from my bones and threw
My thoughts as far as the sea
Shore, where I could stand
for hours watching the birds twist
In the bright blue air and tear
Across the wave tops barely
Clipping the surface, then lifting
Themselves up toward the sun.
My hair ruffling and clothing tight
Against my body as I leaned
Forward to walk into the mouth
Of the day, to live this way, perfection.
But it was not. It was time
Who dressed in that same clothing
And hid in the doorways swirling hours
And memories alike around me
Until I became so confused
By all things I found myself once
Again talking, without sound,
Back to the perfection that was wind.
Light turned blue.
Door opened. Half of the
Afternoon spilled across
Every time this happened
We could see the seasons
Change, the quiet silver
Attached to dreaming, always
Polished, glinting. Each occurrence
Different. The woods in Maine,
River storms across the Great Lakes.
We could hardly keep track,
Afternoon after afternoon,
Always before that light.
We knew it would be this way.
Always the surprise: birthdays,
Funerals, flights of birds,
The occurrence of incredible things.
The blue light must be
Where singing or dancing occur,
Some manner of movement, deep
Rooms, direct communications.
The night easing itself toward
Another time. Someone
Cleaning the whole place
Up, changing it. We will
Wait until tomorrow, hoping
We will be alive, blinking
Into that blue light,
Waiting for that door to open.
Thanks to D.R. Wagner for his beautiful poems, and for bringing his students' art from the past into the Kitchen. We get lots of wonderful photos here, but we don't get enough drawings and paintings, I don't think; feel free to wing 'em up this-here hill.
CORRECTION: Yesterday I said David Iribarne would be reading at the Guild Theater this weekend, which is my mistake. Actually he will be reading at the Florin Business Complex. (At least I did get it right on the b-board.) But please take note, and show up at the right place on Saturday!
We close today with dandy octos from two Red Fox Undergrounders, Brigit Truex and Judy Taylor Graham—both inspired by Katy Brown's LittleNip yesterday—and today's LittleNip by Kevin Jones. Hey—Judy's hubby, Hatch Graham, is reading in Lodi on Sunday! Be sure to head on down there for this rare occasion.
(Octo in response to "Net of Light" by Katy Brown)
—Brigit Truex, Placerville
The door is sealed shut by shadow-
leaves rustling against the light
that seeps through the slats. The blue frame
patiently holds the houred web
marking time—dawn and dusk, flow and ebb—
dew-beads hung on the abacus frame
of silk suspended in the light.
Watcher-weaver spins her shadow.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
A lacewing's caught on flypaper—
so delicately engineered,
immobile on spiraled honey-
gold in August sunlight. What draws
the fated grace of natural laws?
Immobile on spiraled honey—
so delicately engineered,
this lacewing caught on flypaper.
BEHIND THE CLOSED DOOR
—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks
Listening to us