The larvae were moving into a serenade
Just outside the window. It sounded
Like chewing but it was much more terrifying.
A gnawing that sounded like it had been extracted
From a fairy tale by pulling on its horror,
Detaching the parts with the claws and
The voice of the prince from anything that
Could be imagined as carrying a narrative,
That required one to wear the same clothes
As those in the tale who were the defenders
Of the faith or the lovely maiden or the old witch
Who thought she knew what motivated everyone
Within ear shot, but was trapped by her own
Carnal desires and tore birds from the sky,
Changed people into animals and beat them
With sticks, baked them in pies which she served
To demon kings and those lost souls still struggling
To get back to their own stories but were interrupted
By a sudden spike of power and found themselves
Outside their own stories, bound to do the will of these
Larvae, these witches, these pretenders to the clothing
Demanded of fairy tales. A fate worse than that not being read
At all, discarded at the bottom of a pile of reference books
Tossed into a yard during the search of an apartment
During war time, the sound of the screaming and gunshots
Bouncing off the walls even as the prince donned his
Beautiful clothes and feathered hat and bowed to the princess
Still drugged from an imagination that would never allow
Her to be happy, tearing at her own clothing to see
The white of her body glisten in the bright, bright sunlight.
THE STATIONARY LIGHTS
They stayed on the horizon
For six days.
Day and night we could see them.
They pulsed as if they were breathing.
Many tried to reach them
But when one drew closer
They would wink out, leaving
A blue glow in the evenings.
They were not visible from the air.
It was on day five that the music began.
At first we thought it was
A hallucination of some kind.
Such beautiful melodies
Just inside our ears.
Our hearts lifted to the sound
And a feeling of good will
Came though our bodies.
It was easy to wake up.
It became a surprise every day
That we could see them.
They began to appear in other places,
Not just near us but all over the world.
They were part of the news reports.
People began to organize expeditions
Just to see them.
Cats would sit for a long time
Staring at them and listening.
Armies began to fund research
Into what the lights could be.
On the night of July 24, 2013
The record of their presence ceases.
People begin to occupy rooms
To hear poetry.
It was decided these lights were
A trick of the imagination.
GETTING FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER
He pulled the IV out of his arm
And began to suck the solution
With his lips on the needle,
Blood spilling from his mouth.
There is this morning, then,
There is this one,
And this one, as this one, but he
Cannot tell one from the other.
Better to leave the body than
To feel anything any longer?
We can say your name,
Hoping you will answer.
A flurry of restraints
Insuring you will not get up
From the bed until at least morning.
We are trying to gentle the pony.
It still starts and bangs against
The fences when we come to him
Too quickly. I think he is beginning
To recognize us. Yesterday he came
To Ramon to take some oats
From his hand but would throw
His head back when Ramon tried
To stroke him. He is a lovely clouded
JUST OUT OF RANGE
for Captain Matthew Webb
(19 January 1848 – 24 July 1883)
Glassine film over the eyes.
So much runs away from the heart
When love complicates itself
With demanding that there be
Performances of the rituals
Paraded past the podium
Where the colors and weapons
Emotion uses for clothing
Are brought to the foreground
To say I love you.
I love you. I love you.
Thin strips of light
Through venetian blinds
Stripe the room with afternoon.
Napping on the sofa one awakens
In a room suddenly too small
To contain the great trains dreaming
Will use to haul feeling into the place.
So it gets complicated
As social media will have it.
Here, I’ll show you a video clip
With a kitten chasing a laser beam
Across the floor. Isn’t it darling?
One shadow, then two, three,
Four, five, fill the room.
No one notices but it becomes
Difficult to speak any language.
Is this named "being alone?"
Or is it being at all? Perhaps this is an image of a man
Who thought he could swim
Through the most fierce rapids
A river could throw at him.
Our last view: his head and his right
Arm lifting above the water
Just as he hits a fifty-foot standing wave.
OUR WHOLE LIFE
“Our woal life is a idear we dint think of
nor we don’t know what it is. What a way to live.”
The eye lights blinked out.
The fire still reflected on them.
Larrin had caught a spear in him
Just before we got there and was
Mostly gone when we came to his place.
He saw them in the black wood and
He threw a rock at them to scare
Them, but they didn’t scare.
They stopped and one of them threw
The spear. It went right through
Him and he was mostly dead before
He hit the ground, except for his eyes.
Just outside the door
Two men were whispering together.
“This wouldn’t have happened
If there was a wing.
This was a disappearing and nothing
Alive could twist the blood
And put it back into a man.”
“Something out there is feeding on us,
Making a soup of the homeless
And the whores and the bones
Of the poor.”
We began to listen to the stars.
They were like beating hearts.
It was somehow wondrous as
Our heads began to talk and we spoke
Of fiery kingdoms and things of
Wonder we could not comprehend.
The sky moved so slowly above us
It seemed that it had forgotten
Something, something gentle that
Could no longer be gentle,
That made the hands bleed
When touched by our perfection.
We watched the wind form
Around us, pushing us as the night
Does a branch.
The spear had been cleaned
And was intent of resuming its life
As a tree. Oh where shall
We go now? Where shall we go?
We sat down at the table.
We too were clean.
We too had a place in the mystery.
The woods bristled with the shells,
Thick as ignorance, cracking
As we huddled near that door.
We could smell the sea.
The ancient islands. We could
See the luminous heads
Begin to rise above the trees.
We cannot stay here any longer.
Leave his body with the children.
They will lift it with their white
And pale little hands.
Give it to the rain.
Give it to whatever holds the world
It is quiet here for a moment.
There is no longer any room for us.
Oh love, turn your star on,
Just for a moment.
The secret will be in its radiance.
A STATE OF GRACE
I believe that I am living in
A state of grace.
I believe that I am guided
By angels who have protected
Me since I was a very small child.
My grandmother told me when I got here
There were more than a dozen angels
Surrounding me. She said they carried
Swords and their eyes could change
To fire instantly.
When I got here, there was the letter
"V" imprinted on my forehead.
There was a war on when I got here.
I was called a "victory" baby.
They put my photograph in the military
Newspaper Stars and Stripes because I had
This mark on my forehead.
I have never thought that mark
Was meant to be victory.
I thought it was a sign of peace.
I continue to make that sign
With my hands even to this day.
What I elect to do here on this planet
I consider very carefully.
It is not always pleasant.
It is not always correct.
It is not always the smartest
Thing I could be doing.
Yet everything I do, I do from
A state of grace. I have angels
Who protect me. On some nights
I can see them clearly,
On others, I wonder where they are.
I will not judge whatever it is
You do in this place until it
Is proven to me that you are not
Acting from a state of grace.
This means I love too much,
Too often and too deeply.
Some nights I am able to love the entire
Earth. Other nights I struggle
To tell you that I love you.
I think it is better if you understand
That I am this way. I pray that
I may remain in a state of grace
All my life and in all my affairs.
There is an hour of the afternoon when the plain is on the verge of saying something. It never says, or perhaps it says it infinitely, or perhaps we do not understand it, or we understand it and it is [as] untranslatable as music.
—Jorge Luis Borges
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poems and pix! His new book, Breaking and Entering, has been released from Lummox Press; See issuu.com/poetraindog/docs/b_e_sampler_issuu?e=1088711/4107831 to get a 40-page sample.