Saturday, May 19, 2012

Unrepeatable Stories

—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

This iron-crowned king I see
Down on his knees picking up pieces
From a shattered afternoon does not
See me standing on his shadow.

His gaze is the gaze of a dreamer,
Forcing events back through me
That spike a deep fear into my heart,
Leave me trying to move away but unable to
Unlock my feet from the marble floor.

I have no memory of time here.
Even my breath breaks into hexameters that lie
About the shouts of men,
The snorts and exclamations of the horses.

I beg for a cause, a fear of wolves,
Coins upon a dead man’s eyes,
Migrating flocks of great birds,
The open sea, a Taoist priest making
A line I am unable to follow.

I cannot bear this kind of nightmare any longer.
I am being dreamed by a colony of ants.
My throat opens like the morning.

I open my eyes, stare back into the mirror.
The history of the night
Adjusts my clothing, points me
Toward a different eternity.
I recall the white horses of the Chaldeans,
The whistling of their dark riders.


—D.R. Wagner

This string is so taut it
Barely holds anything the
Wind can say yet it
Holds and I will beg
It, say, “Look up, Look
Up, see me there.  I am
Your love.  I am I am.
I hope to find you there.”

And watch the knotted
Tail dance against
The breeze and watch
The twists and turns it
Makes and watch the
Way I love you, for that
May be all there ever was to know.


—D.R. Wagner

Like anyone made more vivid
By the sea it will become possible
To see a diminution of decoration
As the season grows the shell the
Nautilus bears as a home or the
Sloughing off of the green sea turtle’s
Wonder of shell to make yet
More room for a cavalcade
Led by seahorses and huge schools
Of the tiniest of fish leading
The greatest creatures of the deep
To its far reaches by becoming
Part of them as food and living
Safe for centuries because of this.

Pay heed to the tricks of gills
And scales and lateral lines
Which keep the pressure correct
To the most minute of fractions.
Then, gaze upward, creatures of the air,
To allow huge gulps and head for the stars.

A Fixture of Light
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner

The world had already begun before
Anyone noticed that the word was
With God and that, as has been written,
The word was God.  Somehow it had
Remained unspoken until it was too
Late in the day to be found out.

Music was substituted.  I believe it was
The piano where the whole thing
Got served up like a soufflé or a flan
Still glimmering with a slightly brown
Crust and filled with a flavor unobtainable
Anywhere else.

The sound of the sea
Just as the moon rises,
That hiss of water on sand.

At that time an angel, over against me,
Told me that my poem was in the mouths
Of all the angels.  I was dumbfounded.
He quieted me profoundly. Word.


—D.R. Wagner

Murmurations of the heart
Clearly caught upon unknown thorns.
The long kiss of phantom wings
In such uncertain light,
Something blindness might reveal
Had it Milton’s tongue
Or the knowledge of something
So essential to dreaming that it
Must seek through a thousand
Stories of kings and queens,
The children of dying parents,
To find the mysteries of slowly
Falling leaves, a vague understanding
Seldom articulated.  A garden
Long neglected so that it becomes
Almost impossible to tell if it
Truly was a garden.  A confection
Made by butterfly wings that
Wakes from oblivion into
A common dream.  Here we will
Build a house with them.  Sails
Borne by a great ship, bent with wind
In both tedium and splendor.
A history of speech
Able to reside in our most private
Lives, always intruding,
Never more than uncouth
Fragments attempting to
Explain our lives to us.


—D.R. Wagner

The story is unrepeatable.  It has no
Walls but dominates dreams with its
Huge body, so huge civilizations may be lost there.

Never finding their way, such a labyrinth
Undoing our tongues by refusing speech
As we open our mouths, no longer able
To breathe, lost once more on our journey
As Ulysses was lost.

I remember the last time standing
On the banks of the Niagara River,
The Upper Rapids.
The rocks seemed to be exploding.
The sound clear and loud but still
We were able to talk to one another.

Then it happens, for over a mile
Eternity opens it mouth so wide
We swoon upon the river banks,
Gazing full into your body.

You are the element.
Oh water that is all things to me
From life, to death, filling my body
With your flowing.  Am I in love with you
Or is it that you are in love with me?

I seem to speak as you do, drop by
Drop; some clear, some clouded.
I do not know what I am trying
To say.  My library pours from its shelves.
Filling all available space, pours through
The windows, through the town and city,
Never stopping.  We hardly notice

Where all of language pours back
Into your element, washes itself
Within you and returns to our lips
As we sing endlessly to your mystery.


Today's LittleNip:

The mind that in heaven created the earth and the mind that on earth created heaven were, as it happened, one. 

—Wallace Stevens


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's gourmet Kitchen, including our LittleNip

—Photo by D.R. Wagner