Thursday, September 08, 2011

Into the Mouth of the Day

Salt Point
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

From the window I could see
Cruelty come to the human soul.

This from some sea that rolled
Inside a dream I had. Not Melville’s
Sea, or Hope Hodgson’s dark, or Homer’s or
Conrad’s. Not before the mast or sitting
In the stillness Coleridge remembered
As he wrote. I remember this bleak
Horror of a sea as rising to the windows
Of the room as I gazed at the magic.

I hold in my hands a small object.
It seems nothing, perhaps a trick
Played upon the reader as he tries
To discover why such a window would
Be here, now, both understandable
But unexpected. Where could it go?

Shall I ask you to dance with me
That we may seem nonchalant as we
Watch closely the dark clothing of such
Cruelty move about the language?

Or shall we make short work of it,
Turning the page, diverting the attention
For the second it takes to disappear?


—D.R. Wagner

What appears to be a small tremor
That could be as simple as rising
From a chair after lunch or a cigarette
Being lit in front of a star
Or the stillness of a too warm
Afternoon quickly dissipates
Reforming into a long conflict of emotions
Based upon the winds of a relationship.

A note discovered, a misspoken
Phrase and the day becomes amplified,
A bend of coin magic difficult
To decipher by an observer
But so simply clear to the magician

Who walks away into the hours
Pretending that every moment is precious
But holding each and every key from attention.


—D.R. Wagner

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.


—D.R. Wagner

I have looked behind the twilight
To find out why God should have
Emptied it, made it a room filled
With books, a garden in this hollow
Portion of the day. I have no fear
Walking in this fading light. It is here
I gather voices and measure
Their now lifeless bodies by the instruments
They have left here. Clearly a failing
On my part to realize that the universe
Does not offer this pleasure to all
Humans but allows some of us to fall
Through these days upon days, part of
An hourglass, days and nights flashing
As remembered civilizations, flash in
Their histories, a name here, a sliding
Down the glass without a thing to
Grasp, finding myself settling into form
After form, gazing upward at all
That comes to this twilight, a snow
Memory uses to keep us quiet and sealed
In our mirrors, sometimes as amused as kings.


—D.R. Wagner

This can never be told.
It has to come into the world
As cello music and bells. There
Are no words. These are not words
At all. They wave, brightening
The tides. I am unable to explain
In any way you will understand.

What will happen is that, finally,
Words will cease and you will be
Left with music flailing to the edges
Where understanding wants to communicate
With you, but this will be impossible.

Long fingers of notes will reach out
And sit in the middle of what
You know and play phrase after
Phrase to you, knowing you understand
What this is; certainly more than dogs
Are able to do so. Dogs do not even
Bark when the stroking begins,
Bowing across strings, light upon the skin,
The dogs circling and circling until
They finally lie down, holding the scent.


—D.R. Wagner

You may never see these words
Again. They take fire to
Themselves as shoals of fish
Embrace gardens of coral and
Speak to them as clearly as this
Splatter of words across the page
May do so. But this contains

Your name. Here. This may be
The place where you are most
Remembered and laid to perfect memory
As a simple meeting or a lunch

With your brother. You ordered
A hot sandwich and you laughed
Together for a few moments.

Then it was all gone again. Vanished.
And these words too, a tower above
You, embraced you just this once.
Then eternity does its dirty work.


Today's LittleNip: 

Do you suppose God put the stars here just to look at?

—Guy Murchie


Thanks to Cynthia Linville for the photo of the sea, and to D.R. Wagner for today's
poems, photo of the sky, and LittleNip. (Hey—what the heck IS the sea, anyways?)

Teen writers are encouraged to sign up for Kate Asche's workshop, "Hear Our Voices", at the Rancho Cordova Branch of the Sac. County Library starting this Saturday from 12-3pm. Participants are expected to attend all three sessions: this Sat., Sat. 9/17 from 3:30-6:30pm, and Sat. 9/24, 12-3pm. Sign up and get more info at


 Photo by D.R. Wagner