Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dream Basket

Word Play
(Student work at UCD)
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Time bends itself around the stars
As if not wanting to consider them
Or consider them other.  Balls of gas
Able to flame in a vacuum, sustained
And sustaining, visible and yet almost totally
Unknown except for temperature and composition.
Time had not arrived before those stars
Exclaimed.  They could see time come toward them,
A sniper dragging them into a greater sea
Than had ever been considered.

Still the secret was man only.
Alone on his rock gazing into the mouth
Of the lion as he guessed at the stars.

There were too many to consider.
Surely they could not be possible,
Just as his being here to see them
Could not be possible.  By then
The heavens were totally undone.
The night filled with sounds of horror.
Sharp teeth cutting into a handful of bones.

I’m not going to bring the stars
Into this again.  We already have
Seen love tear into the room,
Disoriented, afraid to open its mouth,
Blowing songs against the wind
So that none might hear the message
Clearly and allow the trace lights to
Find their way into our hearts.

The universe may be true for you.
The multitudes exclaim, but if
It is all the same to you we
Will stay here in the safety
Of the verse and rehearse these lines
So that you may understand them
In your deep heart's core.
For what comes clearly to the fore
Here is rain.  Only rain.  Yes, rain pouring its sore
Idyll anywhere it can reach.
For rain is important to poetry
As few other things are
And we will no longer talk again of stars.


—D.R. Wagner

From briny mill splat
We dropped the dewy lap
From the oft used clap trap
Down to the shore.

So while the dingle green
Made of the morning's gleam
It fetched the floating dream
Back to the core.

And none would tarry there
Because there was no chair
And for the great bear’s lair
Close by the moor.

So do not vent your rage
Close by the blooming sage
It only causes rage
Amongst the mill poor.

I’ll warn you but one time
Then rush you from your wine
To watch the watery mine
Give up its flushed gore.


—D.R. Wagner

Dream, dream, little dream
In a basket.  I bring you home.

The hives are full, so full the bees
Are drunk with their singing
And dance before the crooked moon.

I break the branch with great delight,
Carrying it through the night
Much as you had imagined that I might
And have brought it here to show the light.

Oh look, look now, just before
It is too late.  The moon is back,
Though broken.  The moon with
Her sweet lips is back and we
Shall join her as she moves the hill
And has the grass and all the meadows
Bend themselves to her good will.

Stay, stay with me a moment more.
We will watch the little dream
Seep through the weave and leaves
As a broken egg might through a sieve
And have us here with her.
This is all that we can give.

Now go away, go well away.
Tell no one what you’ve seen.
There is nothing you may say.
Your tongue has caught afire.
It has burned your words away.


—D.R. Wagner

The Night is like deep, clear cuts
Into the body.

Skin of a frog.
Chicken in a log.
Playing on the garden wall
Strutting like a cockerel
Acting real tall.

Rope broke just this morning
Trying to run away.  Chicken’s
In the pasture, now there’s no place
Left to play.

I’ll tell you what your name is
If you belong to time.  If you don’t
Then run away or they’ll blame
You for the rhyme.

Chicken’s in the poem now
Dancing for its life. If it don’t dance,
The cat will prance or pounce,
Announce its chance and chicken’s
Due to bow out.

Be careful what you wish or choose
Be careful with your feathers
The night will come, the rope will break,
The cat will prance, you’re bound
To find fowl weather.


—D.R. Wagner

The light hits the inside of the curtains,
Is knocked downward and makes
A pattern along the rug.

Morning is still gathering its things
About it when I sit on the edge
Of my bed and watch the sun
Ease across the harbor, the water
Composing itself to glisten as it is wont
To do.  It has no need to impress
Anyone.  The seagulls bark their approval.

We walk along what little is left of the shoreline.
Wave tops bouncing light off of anything
For a few moments.  There is barely a breeze.

“Words are lethal weapons,” you said.
“Don’t speak anymore or you’ll have
Another damned poem pretty quick."

What is one supposed to do with that?
It will rain that beautiful morning
You’ve just described.  “But I’m using
Words,” I insisted.  “No, you are not.
You are talking, playing.  Those sounds
Could be anything.  Take them out.”

The gulls continued to make
Occasional sounds.  They had their own
Complaints about the whole thing
But could not and would not
Use words.  Blood and whatever
Is wet, come to sit on a docking
Pier and become part of the landscape
Before it can escape into what
Looks a little too much like a poem
Squatting at the edge of the harbor
Pretending it is making a painting.


We have another new album on Medusa's Facebook page today; this one, by Michelle Kunert, is of the SPC "In the Flow" event which took place last Wednesday. Nancy Wahl posted a kind comment on that page about our albums, saying "So many wonderful pictures on this site. Pictures of our Valley poets and more more more." Thanks, Nancy—but it's all made possible by the generous photographic work of our friends, just like the Kitchen is made possible by our poets and photographer friends. Always send us poems and announcements, of course, but don't be shy about sending collections of photos now and then—you TOO can have an album on Facebook, either of NorCal events or whatever else pops out of your camera. Write to me at for details, if you're on the fence...

And thanks for today's tasty fare, D.R.! 


Today's LittleNip: 

The poet confers his identity on the reader.  He cannot do this if he intrudes personally.

—Wallace Stevens



Tiny Dog
—Photo by D.R. Wagner