I had a small handful of lights.
They were to used to transport
Me into any space but I was never
Okay with that condition.
I was sitting in a small room with a single lamp.
There were a lot a rabbits on the floor of the room.
Outside I could people coughing. The noise was
Much like one would hear in a theater before the show
Was to begin. The room appeared not to have a door.
A rhythmic pulse begins. I find it more difficult than ever
To begin. I begin to imagine the smell.
I look hard at the palm of my hand.
One wall of the room begins to dissolve.
I am before a host of angels.
The rabbits move to the edges the room.
There is a red weeping before them.
The Angels appear to be drunk.
Some of them are smoking.
They begin to sing that blue chalk song of theirs.
Animals emerge from the palm of my hand,
Snakes, elephants, dogs, lemurs,
A flock of red birds. My hand becomes
Detached. I realize these lights,
These animals are a kind of language.
I will attempt to use this language.
The Angels form a circle and begin to move
Around and around me. Perhaps something
Here will prompt you to construct a secret life,
One that is full of things like these.
Come closer. These are terrible and majestic
Beliefs I am asking of you. You’ll need a boat.
Remember what I told you. Travel alone.
I have the sole treasure.
It is greater than solitude.
It is pierced with music.
It has nothing to do with the moon.
It exalts as only the soul can exalt.
It magnifies both the twilight and the dawn.
It has a memory greater than that of trees.
It is more welcome than water to the thirsty.
It is as vain as death and commands all its courtesies.
I offer it to you as Abraham would offer it.
It is the book and the reader of the book.
It is the blind directing us to the light.
It does not recognize dreams as dreams.
It does not recognize you as yourself
But embraces you nevertheless.
It strokes the skin of pleasure,
Believing it is saving the world.
But does so without justification.
It returns to us as day and night returns.
It opens a library of endless streets.
It marries the sea to decipher it
And holds vigil before all mirrors.
It wearies of eternity and waits
At other crossroads weaving beyond language.
It becomes lost irreparably, spilling from our hands
As fire and salt, as all who have loved us.
We were talking about how happy
The new snow made us feel.
That whiteness on white and the world
White as well. No wind and the light,
The magic light that made all things
When we lived in Kenmore, New
York, the winter had to line
Up across the lake in Canada
And march down the winds
To do its lovely trick.
Out here in California, the lens
Tends to cloud over like a windshield
On a car driving in the mud,
Rain and dust. Two curved
Views of the world never quite
In agreement with each other,
As we drive through whatever
Season it declares itself to be.
We will gather all we can of white,
In sugar, teeth, cake icing,
Clean paper, plastic forks, gym
sock and soap bubbles and try
To tell others about this loveliness.
Only the babies will understand
What we have to say. But
We will say it anyway.
Sometimes the pain screams
Such a brilliant white light across
Our brains we forget everything
We were going to do or say.
So much for that sway snow
Had for carrying us away. Quietly.
BEYOND THE COMPASS
I was stroking her back while she slept.
She is like a compass, an ancient device
That shows direction. Not as seasons show
Direction. A compass has no agenda.
It is not a map and does not show the weather,
Only a direction. Perhaps the deities follow
The compass finger, never counting anything
Except a specific direction to open a journey.
But let me speak of Summer for a moment.
I was stroking her back while she slept.
There are contours to the season even
When her face is turned away from the light
As she sleeps. I can call angels to my fingertips.
There are kingdoms in the bones of her back.
I have found temples there in which one may
Approach sleep, knowing the night has our breathing
And gathers the late evenings of Summer,
A respite from the grasping one does
In the mouth of Winter. Everything becomes
Secret as I push against the muscles of her back
And yes, she continues to sleep and I build
Columns, pylons, the silence of centuries
Long past, barely able to find themselves
Still alive, still moving in our own brief window.
I will have magic of all this caressing, of this
Lovely vessel for the dreaming that is not death
But another eternity, mirror resting upon mirror,
Converting that which may never be remembered
With the delicate breezes destiny provides
For strangers such as ourselves. One sleeping,
House by house in the smooth hours of the night,
One stroking the dreamer as she sleeps,
Vertiginous in being able to touch such an eternity.
IT WAS ALREADY TOO LATE
There were hundreds of people on the bridge.
This wasn't something we could prepare for.
I felt I couldn't get back, that the road was broken,
Part of the sky caught in a double-long spring trap
And I was traveling that sky, careening back and forth
Between wisdom and insanity, afraid to say
What I meant, afraid of sounding stupid,
Filling a vacancy in my soul that made noise
Like a tornado. I was a debris field.
This is no way to make a poem.
This is no way to understand emotion.
This is barely a way to communicate.
I have taken leave of all events.
Nothing is conclusive anymore.
I can only perform specific acts such as these.
I walk through the garden and admire
The balustrades, the vicissitudes of the labyrinth.
I will haunt the memories of others
Without their suspecting it.
I try to imagine myself as the wheel, the rose.
I believe I can hear souls departing,
Things of no importance, objects from the pockets
Of time that have deserted all but the most ancient
Of histories. My voice is heaped upon
These things which do not have a name.
I stir in my dream
Believing I have influenced
Every clock. I desert myself
And watch from a red hill.
THE END OF THIS UNIVERSE
A murmur of birds.
They are taking down the stars one by one.
Like coins they tumble Into the lake, forgotten,
Unforgotten. Unburdening themselves
From an incalculable mythology.
Erasing symbols, nurturing and needless
As sirens are to nightingales,
As drunk is to the moon.
I wait by the water. Little by little
I begin to no longer recognize myself,
Except as tigers and tigers and tigers
Searching the streets where forever has been lost
Irreparably. Things become transparent.
People slip away or escape
Deep into the waters of the bay.
They have forgotten their form.
They have forgotten what sparse language they owned.
They have forgotten the weight of consciousness,
The unrelenting memory, the petite charm of the garden,
The mirrored pool below the fountain,
So secret and necessary.
The flowers, silent now. The stars beneath the water,
Wavering, now vermilion, now yellow.
I recall the vague dreams of children,
Sights along the road.
I decide this must be a journey.
I dive into the water to be with the stars.
I will wash this dust from me
And begin another universe.
Thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poems and photos on this day of the summer solstice. D.R. writes: Crisis Chronicles Press is fully funded to go ahead with production on my book, The Night Market, with cover and artwork by ReBecca Gozion. Some of the work is over 20 years old and other is very recent. The press is taking pre-orders at ccpress.blogspot.com/2014/06/060.html