—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
O all that is true and beautiful
In the story books of children
Are the lights that make her
Skin glow so that the Powers
And the Principalities come
To sing before the Throne of her smile.
And she sees everything. The rat
Gnawing its way into the soldier's
Body, the claw and eyes of a great
Bird depends on her lovely eyes
And this dirt is made to run
With blood again and again.
O I believe in life. The sun cresting
The morning with its new light.
O I believe in love and all who do
Not are the enemy of truth.
And still they will come and bend
Their heads to please you but you will
Have wonder holding your hand,
The perfect shape of everything.
THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
Make no mistake, the darkness
Will come to the perfect world.
These songs are but the wings that carry
Us into those green and breezy hills.
The red deer move on the top
Of the hills. Their shadows are
Bright yellow and look like flame.
You won’t find anyone if you climb
Up past the house and the barn,
Where the cabbage has been planted.
It looks like a bouquet for giants,
But purple with leaves big as
An adagio lost on a plain
Or a field of ice. We, yes, we can
See you even there. See the sun
Is coming even at this hour to take
Itself from the tops of waves,
Huge sheets of light full from the
Leaves of trees. We wait by the camp
Fire, telling stories.
MESSAGES TO EARTH
We sent our Curiosity to Mars. But waiting
is so difficult for humans. What could we ever
solve? death, or love, peace, or hunger, life?
Late at night, might a computer record blips
from space, to chart them like French
or German for tense, mood, and person?
I follow rabbit-trails of dream in my sleep.
But my hair reaches out wild in all
directions, antennae for receiving signals.
One who knows names of stars
gazes into the night sky focusing on
the brightest body, visible at solstice
this bleakest time of year when the soul
seems ice-crystal. Planet or star?
Are its pulses a Morse code we might
decipher, to learn a language beyond
our grammar, our tongues to pronounce,
our human translations?
BRIDGE TO THE HORIZON
We set about to build a bridge to span
the gap. A graceful lattice under Mars
and Venus, above Old River. Our plan
envisioned a tall archway lit by stars,
a street from here to there. But how to start?
We argued about structure and design—
simple or cantilever—all the art
of beam and arch. Steel or wood? oak or pine?
The far horizon glowed by day and night—
what sort of bonfires in that unknown land?
were they of war or welcome, joy or fright?
We puzzled what we couldn't understand:
those signals to us from the other side.
We scrapped materials, let the mystery bide.
GREEK AND ROMAN GODS
Having grown up with tension
From the whirlwind of the Cold War
Inflation, assassination, addiction
Huge advances in technology
I can only wonder
From the outside looking in
What it might have been like
To have been raised in a culture
Where one would recognize
From daily casual talk
The implications of references
To the daughters of Zeus and Jupiter
Smart folk, those Greeks and Romans
Personifying all our inner drives
So people could talk about them
Openly in a public forum
Instead of leaving those questions
To a sequestered panel of 12 peers
And a few alternates
Who are limited by a silence order
All the while wondering if
Our highest courts and legislature
Will once again amend the Constitution
Giving the justice bus a new route
At one time society had reached
An explanation of the world
That made perfect sense
And everyone could live with it
That became the basis
For common sense:
The world is flat and has edges
Of course, don’t doubt the word
A few royalty owned all the land
Held all the power
And there were fewer still
Who could read and write
So very handily they were
Because there was no one else
Around to correct them
Fast forward to the space age
Where correction is king
From accident reconstruction
To overloaded prisons
To seek a second opinion
To spell check and grammar check
To recall elections
To auditing the books
To Pluto is not really a planet
Common sense is now
Orbiting the Earth
Somewhere over the edge
Thanks to today's cooks in the Kitchen: D.R. Wagner, Taylor Graham, and Carl Schwartz (Caschwa). D.R. and T.G. will be reading with fellow Meduskateer Katy Brown at the Sacto. Poetry Center tonight, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm. Be there!
Tinsel is really snakes' mirrors.