Now I had always thought
The wildwood wild and tales
Of the wildwood king were tales
That were told to a child.
But they are not. They come
Upon wind and the wing of the goose
On his way to the north
Where it will reign white,
The voice of the Winter
The tongue of the night.
And indeed a king found her
Tucked into a tree
And she did braid her hair
And she frightened a parrot
Who ventured out there in the wildwood
And that same bird was owned
By another, a king, who followed that parrot
Back to the wildwood king and married
The maiden and took her away,
Away from the wildwood and the king
Of the wildwood, so the story
dream: he touched his arm and worried
for about ten minutes quietly, the
air conditioner had shut itself off
continued running in his mind.
from outside the window summer held
a long evening in thick fingers and
played with it like a giant with a doll.
he listened to the men loading their guns
and cursing loudly to one another.
dream: she had come to him late last night
and together they had filled the room with
the nets of their bodies and spilled wine.
it could not last much longer he told himself
looked at his hands and sat on the edge of
his bed. not much longer. the easy dusk
clouded purple and he removed his shirt.
STORIES ONCE TOLD...COMING HOME
They have all gone away, mother.
All your pretty boys have pulled
In the webbed wings of their arms
And are gone.
Past the lights that are triangles
Collected in the madness of nights,
Their wooden souls tramping out
Of their bodies and spilling
On roads that go nowhere;
So they race, so they run.
They have gone to where moons
Are the working day and suns
Slide like broken jack-o-lanterns
Tossed from a porch, candle
Keep your photographs, mother
The pretty ones have gone away.
AFTER BEING HELD DOWN FOR SO LONG
When the trees came down
People discovered small
Plastic statues of cities
Caught in the branches.
The cities, how they gleamed
And were all purchased
By a man named Clarida Twipp
Who appeared from a train mouth
In the middle of October
Month and spoke to the loggers
In language they understood.
Bought them for a smile,
The old ones tell the story,
A smile and a crosscut saw.
The children in that place
Hunt frogs where the tree grew,
Dark frogs and the tiny
People upon which
I have taken off the costume
And I’m standing by the well.
Still you swear that you don’t know me
And you send me off to hell.
It’s not a case of being sorry.
It’s not a case of anything.
When they told us ‘come tomorrow’
They never told us what to bring.
So I brought only things of wonder
Like waking up and singing and
Objects made of blue,
But you brought hearts and flowers
And streamers for the dawn.
By the time they were unloaded
Almost everything was gone.
I can’t stay here any longer.
It’s made me want a cigarette,
An ear to tell a tale to,
A scar I can’t forget.
It says something on my skin
That speaks of pain and pleasure
I can hardly now recall.
I don’t remember breathing.
I don’t remember it at all.
I struggled to the surface.
You said this was the lake.
I cannot remember saying that
I’d go there, there must be
Still, I want to talk to you
And you tell me to go ahead,
But this quickly turns to shadow
And I’d be just as quickly dead.
So I’m leaving it like a song undone.
I won’t finish what you say.
I’ll cover up the scars with cloth
And disappear, you now can stay.
THE CLOUD SPINNER
I’ll not find myself in my bed again
And sleep will come no more
For I will stand at the starry gate
And lay hold of the ancient lore.
And time it cannot know my name
Lest it loose its own to the roar
Of the seas that over against the storm
Push all hinges from her doors.
And I’ll come to claim the children of wind
And bend the lightning’s moor.
Pure so pure my own heart shall be
It will chase all fire before itself
And never give rest to my soul
But rend my garments with bleeding hands
Spill all charms upon the sands,
Tangle all the golden strands,
Spin the clouds into wastelands
And cause dark spirits to disband,
As I command, as I command
For I am burning, I am the brand
And I have given all to so withstand
Anything that causes me rest
That I may see morning stand
Before the sun each and every day
And watch each day disband.
And thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poetry and pix!