Saturday, June 28, 2014

Happiness Does Not Wait

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


This face the evening gives me
Seems a sad toy that once belonged
To a dresser of altars who has forgotten
All but the ashes of mystery, a beautiful
Laughter that echoes into the dark hemisphere
Where the dawn is considered useless.

We strive, knowing that we are being mocked
By roomfuls of mirrors, the light merely bouncing
From one to another.  Here you may see my face.
There you may see your own but you are able
To hold little but your ancestors. 

Perhaps one of them is just outside these words,
No longer a ghost, no longer built upon the stilts
Dreams bristle with, that they may poke our lives.
Come, let us stand outside ourselves and look
At the moon with him.  He has been there
Waiting.  We can give him our loneliness and something
Of the hunger that drove us here in the first place.

Perhaps I am reading this from a book of which
I know nothing of its beginning and less of its ending.
I am a labyrinth in myself and in every encounter
With every evening.  Most of the time I do not know
To whom I am speaking.  I love that you are still,
That your smile is kind, that you too enjoy these
Few moments of the evening, perhaps believing
That these are my dreams or that you could make
Them your dreams as well.  They may well be dreamt
By yet another and we are standing upon a plain,
Within a garden where the world is about to be created.

Elephant and Hippo


It has a place at the table.
I open the window and frighten
An owl but it does not fly away.

I remember the names of children
Who disappeared during the wars.
I saw a pile of children’s shoes
Heaped against a fence post
In late autumn just before
The light failed completely.

Through the window I could see
The floor was covered with broken
Glass.  She was sitting at the table
Holding her head with her hands.
She was sobbing but there was no sound.

Later in the evening, while walking,
I could hear a viola begin to lead
A quartet.  The music was coming
From a room high up in a building
Built in the middle seventeen hundreds.
Birds sat on the roof of the place.

I had no idea how long my hand
Had been bleeding.  Only that it had been
A long time.  I was still in the room.
The evening sun looked like an egg
Filled with blood.  It must have been
My imagination.  The phone began ringing.

After they showed me the photographs,
I knew they were lying.  Things could
Never have reached that state.  The
Taller man took a broken glass
From out of a canvas bag.
He placed it on the table.

I remembered I had heard her say
What I thought was my name.
But now, that hardly seems possible.
It has been years since the fire.
I turned off the lights, deciding
The dark was truly going to kill me.



There was a repeated figure
In the bass.  It evoked a huge
Sadness I had never heard
Expressed this way before.

“Please do not lie to me,” I begged.
She began to play the cello.
I couldn’t understand her sadness.
“I must,” she said, “otherwise
Everything will have been in vain.”

The destinations kept changing.
This was supposed to mean something
But we were no longer allowed to understand
Any of the images shown to us.

“I can’t waste my time on this crap,” I said.
“Please,” she said.  There were other people
In the room.  I knew one of them was a prince.
But even knowing this didn’t help me.
I could see he was caressing either a weapon
Or some kind of golden animal that could be
Used in only one way.  I prayed for the cello
To continue to try to explain everything.

Now... there are only three or four people
In the room.  One of them has taken up
The repeated figure I first heard.
“Try dreaming for a few minutes,” she said.

“Is this the right word?”
I began to weep softly.
The possibilities seemed endless.
I forgot we were only making music.

Happiness does not wait.  The prince
Allowed the cat to come very close
To me.  I was struggling to escape
An imagined importance in every action.

“Relax,” the prince said.
“My home is your home.
This is a perfect way to escape
Everything.”  I heard the gun discharge.

 Side of Stuart's House


The cup bearer was forced
To carry hearts into the moonlight.
There was nothing but a loneliness around him.

The binder of the Night was given
Reins to lead the nightmares
Into the dreams, but became so cold
The great windows of the dream
House crazed over with ice.
His breath exhaling turned to snow

The apprentice from the home of wings
Began to tear red paper and hurl
It to the wind.  He felt this was
Boring, heavy with repetition
And constantly becoming too dry.

Six men using truncheons
Lifted the body high over
The bed of paradise, freeing
The flesh from the bone.

Below the bones of the white deer
Before you and I could begin to cry.

It is so silent here.
The inside of an algebra problem.
A ring of parakeets
Seemed flaming of some deep truth.

They began to walk the desert
Disguised as gray and gray-black clouds,
Full of rain.



History lines up its endless legions of men.
The caves and sepulchers.  Millions and
Millions of skulls have been abandoned
By the spirit, the boats turned
Away in senseless battle and forgotten
Empires.  All of the cities have left
This earth long ago.  There are a few
Stories on distant islands.

What constant has a caress?
What does eternity forget?
The rain always continues, somehow,
Much as a dream choses to function.

An amorphous light begins weathering
Our bones.  It is full of gold and
Silver.  Wonders all, as are these
Sunsets, these early epics.

I reach out to touch your hair,
Your skin, your rings of desire.
I too am surrounded by tigers.


Today's LittleNip:

Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is only the bemused spectator.

—Charles Simic



Orchid 2