Saturday, October 19, 2013

Living In A Tacklebox

—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke


She secretes a lemon scent on me,
Tells me “Everything you want to feel
Everything you want to taste.”

I start the car.  There is a sticky substance
On the floor of the vehicle.  I am unable
To get my foot off the accelerator.
I hear the tires exploding and see
Showers of sparks fly up behind me.

A great silence.  I seem to be lifting
Higher and higher above the earth.
I'm not doing that at all.  There is
only the blank faces of the stars.
They reach down and squash
Lovers like mosquitoes, a constant
Buzzing in the ears.



Listen my children, but it is clear
That this no more can be.  To hear
Has slipped into a great web that surrounds
Our understanding, nails us to the ground,
Removes the carpet, then the floor
And no longer can there be a nevermore.

The kingdom collapses as the good king
Dies and his sons or daughters are cast
Into impossible adventures
Played upon a cell phone or
Just as suddenly lost before the cost
Of such a long and painful journey
Can be reckoned clearly.  Some guess
At how one might arrive at the door
With life intact and ready for
The happily ever after, except
The job has now turned to making laws.

The fairies with their gifts torn
Away are looking for quiet in distant woods,
While all the children cry and wonder
And without much question
Lose all the lore.


Two sections from Plump Poon Poems,
pub. by Runcible Spoon Press, Sacramento, 1970:


speak gently lord or breast to breast
as viewed from far upon again the old
romance of baa the sheep-voiced maiden
stood erect them both a temple in the wood
around the body bent and took them in
as though fair air were bound to bung
and as if a wind were snatch they moved
in endless rhythm search beneath the fingers
on the flute the lady played as he did
diddle wantonly among such gardens fair that
hair he had but opened wide his mouth upon
when washed the sea upon and then was gone.


frog foot and with much purpose
roundabout the deviled head
she sang a humming tune upon
the shaft of light protruding
from the velvet weave that both
surrounds them flicking at the
pods of sweet white rosebuds
gathered rather to the mouth
or moved between the hills both
near and fur all scent as up to
haven for the resting and arresting
of such a solid tool among the gardens
of the lady from the north so banged.



The ice cream was dripping onto the floor but
he was using it to make an elaborate portrait of
a couple not four feet away.  He kept trying to
make up some kind of story about them without
becoming bitter because the entire mess was so
self-defeating.  Someone would come along
within a few minutes and tell him his cone was
dripping.  He was trying to be gentle with the
entire idea.  A vicarious intrusion into two com-
panions who had no idea that he had found them
with a medium that allowed him to become loyal
to it, eat it, be the finder of what might have been
a great statement about relationships, being loyal
and still he felt he was acting as gently as possible. 
The man with the mop didn’t even notice that this
mess was even intentional.  He just wanted the
whole thing gone.


Trails led out of her eyes.
People were walking on them.
A few of the people we thought we

The moon, crooked behind
The trees.

One man handles fire
With his bare hands.
He lifts it and puts it
Into baskets,
Sells it to ladies
Walking down the strand.

There was a blue cherub
With purple wings
Who never quite made it
Into a song,

We waited as he tried, and gave
Him our guides, so we may as well
Take him along.

He can ride in the carts that carry
The hearts, that bundle the darts
For the trade.

He can spot where the bridges
Have all fallen down.  He will
Tell us of what they were made.


We stopped for the night beside
A stream of water just as the last
Light was climbing up the trees
To make its jump into night.

As it grew darker, the stream grew
Brighter and brighter and we could
See almost as well as in daylight.
The stream seemed to enjoy our being there.

No one had ever come this far into
The forest.  In the morning the stream
Gave us fish, dappled like sunlight,
Sweet of flesh and eager to join
Us in making our bodies work.


When we reached far Marlee
We released many of the birds
We had brought with us from Gotburg.

They flew ahead of us, forming
The shapes of many creatures
As they did so.  The people of Marlee
Could see us coming for miles,
As if a cathedral were walking
Toward them, singing the while,
Telling the tales of our journey
In stories that are still told today.


Two giants, squatting, eating flowers.
In the next moment they had become trees.



The whole thing was a tangle.
Every time he tried to speak
Little flames would slink, almost trickle,
From the corners of his mouth.

He knew he had to find some standard
Set of lines he could use to address her.
She seemed so at ease.  It was difficult to pick
Out what it was about her manner
That had the excitement of ice cream
About it, the warmth a freshly dried laundry.

It was like watching dots of light,
Pancakes of light, all colors,
Float through the air fish-like
When she was speaking.  Her words
Advertised a sense of something daring,
Hot pants or a cheer rising from a crowd
To celebrate almost anything as a wonderful

It was too much for him.  He felt as if
He were living in a tackle box; hooks,
Sinkers, tangles of leader, swivels,
An extra reel, a variety of beautiful lures.
None of it in the least useful unless
One was going fishing.  He decided
To go with the little flames, see if he
Could be seen in the dark, flickering.


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poems and pix!

Golden Calla Lilies