The train was late.
From the Lustschloss we could
See Spring insisting it had
Everything we would need.
Why are you leaving now?
It insisted, showing us its best
Greens and purples, roses
Excited that they were blooming
In Weimar and that it was Spring.
We walked from the station
To get coffee. The city was
Exploding in colors we had
Never seen before. This was
Exactly what we had imagined.
I wake up dreaming I have been
Here forever. I can hear the ghosts
Of Germany coming down the track.
They are dragging my life history
Behind them instead of rail cars.
I order a sandwich and check my watch.
The staff are changing the sheets, opening windows.
Any minute now this will end and I’ll be
Home safe in my bed, trying to catch my breath.
So small, the day, standing slightly
Bow-legged, hand on its collection
Of hours, a goofy grin on its face.
I walk with you down a street
Bright with all the tea in China.
There is wild music in the signs and colors.
There are perfect clouds a-roil above.
The buildings giving everything a just-
Washed look, like the way your eyes do.
And sun, leaning into the street,
Scattering the cars before it comes
Swooping into your face. I cannot
Tell it from you or you from it.
Here it seems as if every day looks
This way. We watch it hitch its
Thumbs in its belt and follow
It from bookstore to school yard
As if it really could go on into tomorrow.
THE MYTH OF NEVER KNOWING
The air is constantly filled
With the sound of the stars.
They hiss and pop in the cold
And spread themselves like so
Many jelly beans. They are reminders
That we have been somewhere,
That there is nothing bigger in life,
That our ears must at times refrain
From their singing of sounds
To the brain, that what we remember
Is so much we make myths of never knowing.
They were waiting for me before I
Got to the building. I couldn’t see them clearly
With the shadows and the fire throwing
Weird shapes on everything around them.
I knew they would be there. I wasn’t born
Yesterday and anyone who talked like I did
Was going to be in trouble very quickly.
It wasn’t like I was John the Baptist or anything.
It was just that I refused to be afraid of the things
Of which they said I should be afraid.
I’d seen the guys holding the signs on the corners
Asking for food or money, or their sanity back.
I’d seen the way those women wearing three
Ragged coats would own the streets
With their shouts about sons of bitches,
Sick bastards and endless assholes.
And the wind blew around them and it was
It was time to take me down. I’d been
On the planet just a few years too long.
They wanted my clothing. They wanted
Me to stop talking out loud or any other
Way for that matter. I could see some of them
Had weapons. They knew they had me outnumbered.
But I could still turn away from the building.
I could still slip behind the fire trucks racing
To the building. I could still speak their names
Out loud in the bars. People would know
Who they were, why they had come here.
They were hunger. They were poverty.
They were without champions. They were
The fire itself. They were unable to see
Anything but themselves. They did not want
To lose their existence to some nut who could
Identify them to everyone. They were the gang.
The status quo of pain. I could not stand the sight
Of them. When they saw me running, they couldn’t
Stop firing until I was lying still on the pavement
Leaking everything I had on the asphalt.
AN ADVENTURE IN BRINKSMANSHIP
The morning slips in almost unnoticed
Through cracks in the wall boards.
No one has lived here for years.
We come here to hide.
We are in the middle of the city.
The streets screech with their demons,
With traffic and shouting.
The sound of gunfire comes from everywhere.
Bursts of larger shells shake
The building we occupy.
We have come from the house of the winds.
We have spoken to their mother
Who asked her son, the west wind,
To bring us to your shores.
We have heard a leviathan stalks you
In your cities, in your schools and in your
Own homes. And it is the beast
We come to see for ourselves.
We wait by the gates of the Fer
Tables and with the fish of the universe
We have brought you the names of the stars.
They are our garments. We have brought you
We moved to the edge of the high cliffs.
The great and shining scales of the leviathan
Flooded a sky thick with
Moons and its own stars
And fire flashing like the throats
Of loons singing. Its glittering eyes.
Its bleached teeth beyond our ways
And we watched it eat.
I am able to say what I think.
This star we stand upon. We gather
Your wishes to our will and
Flee the cliff. For all men
We move the night, with our hands.
SENDING IN THE YEARS
There is a train going through
She did not understand why he was
Always so late in coming home
With all that fighting in the neighborhood.
He touched her leg and she smiled.
The next morning both dogs were dead,
A clean round hole in each of their heads.
It was strange. There was no blood at all.
He kept trying to put the earbuds in her ears
But she didn’t want to hear anything different.
The clouds that came in during the late
Afternoon had something wrong with them.
They were wet gray and a dirty yellow
And looked like blisters in the sky.
Will you have a drink please? she said.
He stood in the doorway, facing away and nodded yes.
He wondered why the house across the street
Was surrounded by so many cats.
TOUCHED BY SOUND
That we could see the place
Where this begins does not seem
Possible, but here it is full of motion,
The light of the movement and the voice that speaks
Directly to you in any given moment.
I have been looking for that moment.
The spirit of the dead build
Their chairs behind me and allow
Me to see my brothers and sisters,
Even this late in the evening.
I sing their songs to them and light
Seems to blow across every movement.
I haven’t got a chance to stop
In the middle of the story,
Try to remain perfectly still so
Sound may touch me, clutch me to
Its sorry breath and try to change
My mind about how this is thankless work
And we are more than a brief storm.
We pick up our saddles, grasp the moment,
Why would the
Wind care to
Be so beautiful?
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poems and pix!