Saturday, March 09, 2013

Crystal Dreams

Dream Tigers


The hills below Remonth
Are terraced to the sea
Though we do but seldom see
The Southern shore.
And the birds we know that live there,
They are the birds most rare to here.
They are yellow, blue and green
And some that change in season
Like the years do.

The word came up from Remonth
Like clouds upon the sea
And we do but seldom hear
The tales that reach this place,
For even far, far Remonth itself
Is storied lore.

And our fine lads, they are sailors
And they change just like the weather.
They wear armored coats and leather.
Their tongues are sharp as sword blades
And although they course with wolves
Upon their road
They seldom ply the winds
To South, to Southern shores.

Dragons terrible, men fall there
‘Neath their great breath of fire
And their colored wings,
With rancor as their weapon
They’ve burned and tore.

But now the birds of Remonth
Come madding to our trees.
In flocks and coveys and in murders,
Their blue crows, their stilted herons,
Their pond ducks and their
Pink wrens, their multicolored owls
That hunt the night.

We see dark smoke on the horizon,
Hear a clamor climb our mountains
Full of sound both animal and man.
They portend of great fear
That will come to our high cliffs
As we rattle spears and arrows,
Climb to treetops for to see what
Marks a land so distant,
A land of magic and of wizards,
A land that lasted tens of thousands
Of our years.

And we’re reading as their stream
Trudges open-mouthed and screaming,
Trying hard to find our borders,
On they flee.

Only birds and millions of them,
Terrible afraid and caught in uproar,
As they push past all our forests
In a strangled, anguished chorus,
Lifting wings and charging madly
We’re out to see their dark unknown
As we wait to see our own selves
What they have seen.



We have seen the carvings.
They were made by chambermaids
In honor of those who did not perish.

We find their names yet, scribbled
In digital notes and papyrus,
Stone monuments and the white
Marble of Greece, in the mathematics
Of the Muslims, in the the way
The planets circle one around
Another as if they had something
To say.

We have counted the grains of sand.
We have watched the drunks empty
Out of the bars into cold two A.M.,
Year after year, coughing and hacking
As if it were the only prayer they knew.

There are labyrinths even in the water.
The infidel raises his sword
High above his head and speaks an oath.
It seems a courtesy to death.
So many seem pleased to know him.
“He is eternal,” they chant,
Gesturing to some future thing,
Maintaining their vigils to reach him,
Believing they can claim something
From all the weaving in and out,
As if there were real gold there.
The past comes back and slaps their heads.
They think they hear music.

We are fully prepared for all this.
We begin to bleed on them,
Knowing we are in some kind of dream.
Dust rises when sleep comes in
On its lovely horse, trotting on the edge
Of someone else’s dream.
We beg them to keep dreaming.



When I was a child I was given
Many books with the most pleasant
And exciting illustrations.  I can
Recall all of these images for I
Professed to live there and whenever
No one was looking I could be found
Within these illustrations doing
All manner of wonderful things and seeing
All manner of wonders.  It was there
I saw three gold mountains.
There was nothing else like them ever.
They came to be the quest of all my dreams.

My childhood has long passed.
I have given everything I imagined
To this dream of three gold mountains.
Now, I can be seen on any given day
Walking unsteadily up and down
The steep streets of the town
Seemingly on my way to somewhere.

But now I have forgotten much
And these mountains of gold may not
Be a game but a bird, the unobtainable.
A drifting cloud, changing form, the
Singing of an ancient sky coming
From some imagined church.



The night hawks would signal
One to another, whistling down the air.
Signals to track his quiet steps
Down from the highlands,
Down to the sea.  Oh I wish
It were me,
How I wish it were me.

The Golliards would bathe him
In song like the heroes of old,
As he came along this thin track
Down from the highlands,
Down to the sea.  Oh I wish
It were me.
How I wish it were me.

The silver on his belt and the flash
From his sword blade were
Witness to tales he speaks
Concerning both the land and sea.
Oh how I wish it were me.
How I wish it were me.

They could soothe both the moon
And the sheep on the hillsides
‘Neath the faces of stars
In the broad lands of sleep.
Oh how I wish it were me.
How I wish it were me.

And I’m told that one can see him out walking
On the nights when the clear
Strings of the harper would
Curve across midnight and
The starry archer would loose
Flames from his bow
That would stretch across heavens
With him treading below.
Oh how I wish it were me.
How I truly, truly wish it were me.


            ...for John Lurie

What’s his name, who has left
Off speaking far too long,
His blue streak has been recalled.
Indeed, his reflection has been surgically removed
From the mirrors in the back
Rooms he used to inhabit.

The clouds continue their figuration.
The dust blows from room to room,
Out the window, into the wood.
It does not remind us of anyone
In particular, certainly not a writer
Or a general.  It is however
A lovely golden brown.
We recall the desert.

The books he read have been
Returned, along with the pendulum
Which has been buried in a tree.
The entire situation seems somehow tender,

But for the echoes of voices
Heard by those who
Still visit this place, looking hard
At it, as one would a tapestry,
Trying to unravel exactly what
Kind of historical event
Has precipitated What’s his name’s
Insistence on preserving
Something of his life.  Anything
At all might have done:
A memory by a shepherd in a
Moonlit wilderness.
A skeleton bleaching while in the desert.



Moments ago there were horses
In the clouds.  But now
The clouds themselves are gone.
The breeze doesn’t want to be bothered,
But it toys with the spiked
Balls on the liquidambar trees
Keeping their quiet just before the Spring.
Even the birds have forgotten
This place today.

New clouds are streaming in.
They are flat and thick and shapeless.
They have come with lower pressure
To talk about the rain still
Hours away at sea.  “Oh it will
Come,” they say. “See what we are
Wearing, the rippled shapes we
Make.  We will fill all to the skies
Before you can stop writing this.”



You know, I could just stand here for next
To forever.  Sometimes the notes are not even
The music.  The music hovers around them,
Bees that can’t explain anything but fill each
Moment with a kind of surprise offered nowhere
Else except in music.  Try to make it say words.

I was listening to the song ‘Nightfall’ played
On a piano and there were no words just
These sounds and wow, I found them wandering
Through my body and there was nothing attached to them.

An improvisation is pressing the keys to say what
Is ineffable and yet there is never a lack of communication.
I’m riding the notes as if they were crystal dreams.

Musicians don’t know what they are saying
Any more than poets do but they proceed
Anyway toward what they think is the way.

Because it is so true we follow each bunch of sounds,
Each statement the notes make as if we knew
The words.  There are no words.  There is only
Music just as, when the poem unwinds before us,
There becomes such a completeness that we allow
All the words to stop.


Today's LittleNip:

—Michael Cluff, Corona

The water will gather
whether you want it
to or not.
The independence
of each
is all that matters
in a fluid universe.


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poems and pix, and to Michael Cluff for the LN

Waiting Room