—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
We first saw them at the edge
Of the garden. Light had departed
The entire yard. Lights were just
Coming on inside the manor house.
We were waiting there for the vehicles
To return from the village when they appeared.
There were six or seven of them
All dressed alike in silk harlequin-
Like costumes of the palest orange and a breathless
Yellow with black buttons. Each of them carried a
Spherical lantern that cast dreamy
Puddles of light over the shrubbery,
Upon the branches, beneath the arbor.
They seemed to arrange themselves
In some kind of order then commenced
To sing in the smallest of voices
That still had a grandeur about it.
It was as if they were announcing something
Of import. They moved the lanterns in a
Slow choreography that complemented
Their wordless singing.
Owls began to circle above them.
The voices swelled and the pulse
Their lanterns had begun to display
Wavered and flickered in the gathered dark.
Then they were gone. Completely.
The light extinguished. The singing
Ceasing. The silky reflections on
Their strange cloth vanished.
We continued to wait a long time
For the transport to arrive.
When we had boarded and departed
Miguel said he thought he saw
Their lanterns far off in the forest
Surrounding the manor house, but
Miguel is known to have a very
Active imagination and often sees
Things no one else is able to observe.
GALAXIES: SEEING THROUGH YOUR BODY
These galaxies are the thoughts
That God has thought and that
He no longer thinks. We watch them
Wheel and toss across unimaginable silences.
We rush to the windows and you say
“We have been here before, haven’t we?
I have seen these clouds before, have seen these great
Winds. We used to walk near here.
The waves looked different then, but we
Know this place.” You looked at me.
There was nothing but a soft light
Moving through your eyes. You began to
Disappear. I could see through your body.
I could hear the guns begin to fire.
They didn’t stop for a long time.
I could feel the blood inside my mouth
And spit toward the floor.
A crackling sound began close by.
I felt like I was being stung by hornets.
The room began to swirl around me.
All I could see were those galaxies
Once again. A fog of silvers and golds
Poured over my skin. I remembered
My name, but I could not speak it.
I’ve seen photographs of the brittle
Stars. They are deep water starfish
Living hundreds of meters below our
Air world. They move like serpents across
The floor of the oceans. They Samba.
The batacata eats into the nerves.
The legs of the starfish look like early
Animation. They feel around the spines
Of the purple sea urchin and into the
Places where every move is a dance of death.
They have seen the heavens and watched
The fall of the angels from the far heights.
They have seen the martyrs tossed into
The sea attached to ropes and heavy weights
To die and rise to the highest throne in crazy
Glory. They have consumed those bodies
Themselves and felt the course of celestial
Beauty course through their brittle forms
Nearly crushed by the great depths.
They number thousands of species, each
With a voice that calls across time and seas,
Heavens and impossible-to-fathom depths
Where their spiny legs worship those far heavens
From which they will always remain outcasts
In the wet of the lands.
In the bridle of the night.
In the glow of the lamp.
In the sound of the water.
In the light of dreaming.
Breath clouding the glass.
Touch, a weapon of knowing.
Speech, the servant of feeling.
Time, losing its claim on love,
Reduced to rhythm only,
The wish, the desire, el deseo,
In the jungle, hidden from the street.
Handfuls of coals glowing
On the water, in the water,
A deep weather unloading
As a turtle does its eggs
Into the night.
Everywhere, bent to surround
It so it may have this form.
I have no memory of ever having been awake.
A slow, painful surge of light
Had moved over me and I was conscious
Of a body, a soft, slowly draining, but
Voluptuous excrescence moving from deep
Inside myself, toward a language not even
Formed yet. A sadness, gentle and secret
Found its way through a door, softened
By an inner voice trying to explain
What it was this sensation was supposed to be.
“This is such an old-fashioned way
To move.” The thought came
With immense authority draped
On its constantly changing form.
“Do you want help?” it continued.
I could not resist. I thought it
A lover or at least something I could
Stand naked before and feel comfortable,
Feel possessed by and not know fear.
This too seemed like a dream.
“You have done well.
Come here, child.”
I could not hurt any longer.
I knew I must awaken.
All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.