Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Shall Be Your Tongue

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


Suddenly he didn’t know how it would end.
Lights began to flash a mad semaphore.
He could hear the bullets whiz past his ears.
The water keep getting higher and higher.
He didn’t see the train until the last minute.
He could see the tornado coming right at the house.
The fire was all around him.  Even from here, it was hot.
He felt the rock beneath his feet crumble.
The first arrow hit him in the thigh.
The plane's engine sputtered and then went out.
He heard the ‘click’ as his weight hit the ground.
The brakes might as well not have been there.
It became obvious there was no way out of the ship.
The police began to open fire on the crowd.
There were too many people pushing against the gate.
There was a ‘ping’ and the air pressure began to drop.
The ground began to open up directly in front of him.
He never heard a sound as the huge graphite rolls
Broke their chain and began to slide down the ramp.
There was a sound like a wall of glass exploding.
He could see the driver not noticing his bicycle.

Leonard Bernstein felt something happen inside
Himself.  "What’s this?" he said.



She would hold hands with shadows,
Lead them away from the light,
Gently lift them from beneath
The bodies of the dead and gather
Them in, absorbing them into her own
Body as a spider does its silk as it climbs
Toward the prey struggling in its web.

The waterfall dusted with snow,
Ice flowing over its brink, a million
Shapes of it, filling the lower river,
Pressing against its banks and forming
A great ice bridge, sometimes over one hundred
Feet thick.  The river still flowing beneath the ice.

“It is the the river thinking,” said Ramon.
“Water does not think,” I replied.
“Ah but it does,” he said.  “Are we not
Mostly water ourselves?  Even as we find our tongues,
Rivers are so much greater than ourselves,
As are oceans.  Look at the great thoughts
Of the Antarctic and the curve of the polar ice,
Still ice, but in the blaze of each day without
Shadows.  Think of its storms, all frozen water.”

We have watched her on the battlefields,
Standing amidst patrols in the dusk, leaning
On the shadows of the soldiers, tugging
At them, slipping them away as death
Comes in its many-colored vehicles,
Hurrying across the deserts, picking
Men and women like flowers one after another.

What do they need with shadows here?
The water of their lovely bodies sucked back
Into the desert, becoming thorny plants
Fed by what used to be the dreams of water.

We stand at the edge of the maelstrom,
Gazing at the rising bridge of ice.
The river, never stopping, the waves
The ocean uses, never stopping,
The bodies falling one after another,
As endless as wars are endless.
She rides her grayest of vehicles
Over the grayest of lands, filling it
With shadow after shadow,
Stitching them together into the most
Terrible of songs, creating a punctuated equilibrium
In an event designed as extinction,
Fed, as all things, by the thoughts of water.



The moon unnoticed.
I am afraid.
The corpse of love
Hangs from the heart
Too far to be seen from here.

I don’t want to look at it.
I prefer the moon, but tonight
It is gray and does not hang
About the earth for any reason.

I am walking the streets
Smelling of the jails as if
They were twisted dancers
Brought to entertain us.

My hands are infected.
I can no long touch anything
Without pain in my fingertips.

I once had lights so sweet
You could see bodies floating on them
Just waiting to be had as the
Palest of lovers.  But no more.
Only a storm of snow, of night
Under a barely recognized shore.



They cast out upon the sea
With their mouths full
Of blind victory, sleeping,
Dreams still in their hair.

No room for tribulation,
Only the cool salve of the air
Upon their skies, and what
Vision?  Something we have never

It lifts itself above all waves
And cries through the night,
Begging for a dawn.  And the
War races on, pieces of men
And women scattered everywhere,
Perfect holes in their perfect
Bodies and no more air for them.

God, what is this thing
Looking down at us as we hoist
The sails on this lovely day?
The wind claws at our sheets
Full of this fog of a day.

They wish the storm
On some far horizon.
There is no storm.

I wait here on the edge
Of the dark, gazing upon
The last day, their ships
Returning home,
The dead commanding.

 Stone Dog


What hangs like the hanged
Man just before me,
As I scramble for stones,
Blood, moon, amethyst, ruby?    

I stood upon the backs
Of whomever was there
And they knew me
But they thought I was other.

When I wake, I will walk
Through the small door
To find myself near the fire,
Wrapped in a many-colored blanket,
Speaking this way, thinking
You will understand me.

No, you may as well understand
The rain, yet I shall be your tongue.   


Today's LittleNips:


The breaks all came at once.
The code.  Her water.  Silence.
Self-control.  The weather.  Dawn.
The rain forest opening up.
His bones.  A chance to see forever.


Something was severed just behind his smile.
It made his entire fuselage seem to have been faulty.
“Can you sing?” she asked.  He began to run.
He could feel them begin to forcibly open his mouth.


“I do not want to hear a word about this.”
She traced her forefinger across his lips.
“Not one word,” she whispered to him.
He had no idea what language she was speaking.


He always thought it was a mental activity
But he could see where the valves had broken,
The pipes disconnected from what appeared
To be a main line.  And he could hear his heart pounding.


He made a break for the door.
It turned out there wasn’t a relationship.
There wasn’t even a situation.  There was
Only control and the way things turned out.



A Candle for Ross