Saturday, July 26, 2014

I Can Only Give You Gold

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


The fog has come down to the river
Tonight.  It has something to say
That must not be shared with any traveller.

“They ran before the quartering gale
Until midnight.”  The fog spoke of the sea
That night and of a ship the river knew too.

“I do not wish to know these things. 
I am a river.  I know how to feel.
I feel your long fingers probing my body.
I meet the sea at my mouth and I lose
The ships to the deeper waters.
I do not know the reefs you speak of.
Tell me of the moon.  I’ve seen her
In the sails and tricking along its masts.”

“There is no moon tonight, my brother.
I am the fog.  I keep the moon and it is
A ghost in my arms.  Recall the way
The mists dance upon you in your Summers.
The glower of these dark cliffs is not
As it seems.  They will try to hold
You within these banks.  It is the ships
That are the story.  It is sea that sends me.”

“You do not know the tides, sweet fog.
The tides are the lutes that truly carry
The tales to me.  You are a blanket
Over all and the wind does not believe
In you.  You run before the sun.”



Though fog into my heart has come to dwell,
I do not care to die, and I look down the flights
Of stairs and drink the water from my cup,
Listen to my own voice and trust this shadow
Is my own.  But I cannot tell.  I cannot tell.
I expect it this very evening and, not seeing
Anyone, plead that it is not far away and that
The one I see and wear is mine.

I play guitar to lose myself only that I may find
Myself again inside the passageways of music
Where time is strict and rules those fires that fit
Themselves around my throat.  I do not care to die.

I call upon the rings of gold and wear them on my hands.
I trust the words of poets and their colors on the lands.
They do not guide but do appear to divine the moments'
Rush, then move to myth and epic as if in them are trust.

And I go to the West Indies as the place where I may wear
The cloak again as golden, as golden as your hair.
For the fog into my heart has come, though the path
I know it well, I do not care to die and so I’ll move myself
To dwell in raiments born of shadow and trust it is
My own as I walk down the stairs away from here
And come to dwell alone.


From that far up the wall
The sun was a kind of joke
That made his hands bleed
When he pulled himself as far
Up as he was able.

These weren’t his eyes.
He could see dragons
As well as the next guy.

What he couldn’t see was out.
He had no idea what that was
But it came with a cache that
Promised a room where no one
Was screaming horrible invectives,
No vision out.

Alcohol traps the clear blue light
The spirit generates to indicate
A position that could possibly
Look out, but doesn’t because
Vision becomes stunted and speaks
Only in clipped sentences. 

This too stopped at that same
Place, where, no matter how hard
One tried to lift oneself, the wall
Was always just that much higher.

Eventually, a vocabulary developed
That knew only a language
Made by mice lost in a huge bed,
Unable to recognize anything
As a feast, forgetting the definition.



Drag me to where the mirrors
Have been deserted.
An elemental landscape
Where a gentleman opens
A door to a port, only reached
By walking through flame or a river
Interrupted by a night where one
Can glimpse the human hand
That moves the players, the paths,
The mountains.

I am so useless to my own world.
I begin to collect nightmares, yellow
Eyes that form wordless questions.
They beg me for libraries but I am
As blind as Milton.  I can only give
You gold, the white light that causes
Deep and perfect shadows of a hand,
Covering the face of the seeker,
Explaining that there is nothing to see here.

Tonight I am much too tired to even reflect
Myself in such a mirror.  Here, you do it.


ah methedrine annie of fourth street
ah annie tonite I’m seeing you again
walking in and out of Donald Byrd’s horn
and over the ease of Red Garland and it
is warm summer of 59 New York and yr speeded
little body zipping all over the apartment
sometimes it was the fire of fixation looking
over across the way at the building they are tearing down
and you watch the big ball fall from its miles high
and KABOOM the piano is still there annie and the
building is falling down.

lost in New York on my second visit to big city
and there was annie annie of hitchhiking madness
running down the street in blue print dress
the sun in both hands and meth meth meth
rattling yr eyes around and kicking yr tongue
loose / dreamed I saw you one time in Toronto
years later bout '64 but it was only some old chick
who wore her hair like you and me mad fool run down
the street zip and up to her saying “Annie, Annie,
it’s me, Al” she kinda turns and looks at me and I see right
away it’s not you at all but just somebody on the gloom street
Bloor in downtown Toronto and I kinda mumble some words
about how I thought you was
else and sneak off thinking.

It was sweet afternoon, someone had put a Garland record
and you, hee hee, were speeded again and listened IN-TENT-LY
just like you sd IN-TENT-LY and I in my drug haze of two, three
days looked up and you were gurgling to some chord so that I
laughed out loud and broke up, sick and blum stung strung out
I laughed and you laughed and came over to where I was lying and
laughed at me and quick kissed my head and went back to the kitchen
to make something, tea or pour milk, and I called “Annie” and went back to
sleep for two whole days only waking to take a piss or cough and go
back to sleep.  When I finally came around you were gone and nobody knew
where or even later in letters said you came back ever.

Annie, methedrine annie in my alley don't come home no more.
Annie, methedrine annie say where you are and laugh and walk across rooms
forever and listen to your funky jazz and make tea.  In some room sometime
I’ll see your quick skip across the yellow floor again and keep it in my
collection with all the other sounds of the universe making its room inside
my brain.  Ah, the floor is yours.

(First published in
The Willie* #2, Spring 1968, Los Angeles
Edited by William Hageman
Published on the run by Manic Press, San Francisco, CA
Printed by Ben Hiatt, Sacramento, CA)


you pin my night
dreams in yr hair
like small stars
that will never
know the taste
of what we call

The shine.  Oh love
how they shine.

Tripping softly
on the colors
in my mind
I find you
soft inside and
our loving
is Osiris in
his rising.

We are alone now
love, they have left
their buildings empty
and we are alone.

You go from me
in candied words
and I shall never
see you come
morning in the sad
buying cabbages
and bitter pears.


There can’t be anything
worse than seeing
those painted-in-
summer chicks
happy stolen
down light streets
and not being
able to do a
damn thing
about it because
I’ve locked myself
in the room to
do something
Somebody told me
there was a war
going on somewhere.
The guns inside
this room are
in my pants.
The girls refuse
to explode.
My door remains

(First published in
The Willie #1, Summer, 1967, Los Angeles
Edited by William Hageman
Published on the run by Manic Press, San Francisco, CA
Printed on Douglas Blazek’s mimeo machine, Sacramento)

Long night road out
from Tulsa and my
bike stops dead
its headlights dying
into the endless white
line and no moon.
the highway eats
my senses  :  from 50 miles
away long diesel sounds
like forgotten buffalo
thunders rumble out
and also die long before
any idea of morning

Pushing my bike into
Milfay all night
gas and eat light
drawing me on for hours ahead,
the 100-year-old attendant
and ugly daughter
fixing my generator
after hamburgers; a Navajo
Van Line truck wheels
in its dusty blue-eyed
Indian pointing in to Texas.

The sun is long in coming.
Hours later the buffalo
diesel finds me
and passes, its stacks
the last fires of
these midnite plains.

(First published in
The Willie #1, Summer, 1967, Los Angeles
Edited by William Hageman
Published on the run by Manic Press, San Francisco, CA
Printed on Douglas Blazek’s mimeo machine, Sacramento)


old lady climbing stairs
in ice winter day here
fell and cracked her head
open, dying on the snow,
thin snow, thinner than her
blood.  her children rushing
from the door and standing
(one of them making a "don’t touch”
movement with his hands)
and her dying there, in the snow
thin snow, thinner than the life
she kept wrapped up inside her
brown coat, thinner than the
misty curtains floating over
her eyes looking at the sky,
not seeing the hand motions
of her children, the thinness
of the day she died, the end
of the year, the great stairs
and slipping, the thin snow.

(First published in The Willie #1, Summer, 1967, Los Angeles
Edited by William Hageman
Published on the run by Manic Press, San Francisco, CA
Printed on Douglas Blazek’s mimeo machine, Sacramento)


Today's LittleNip:


dogs barking in the night.
breaking glass.
rain just loud enough so you notice it.
hillsides overlooking valleys.
cabins in the woods.
brothers and sisters.
the past.
fields that stretch to the horizon.
beach glass.
someone singing to you.
wool socks.
telling your dreams to another.
ice cream.
children laughing.
all kinds of music.
looking at old photographs.
kissing for long periods of time.
long periods of silence.
crickets singing in the night.
holding someone close.
carnival lights.
traveling anywhere just to do it.
playing a musical instrument.
walking in the forest.
fairy tales.
listening to waves at the shoreline.
touching someone intimately.
listening to jazz music.
someone reading to you.

I was wondering about these things.
How you felt.  Yes.
How you feel.


*The Willie was a seminal mimeo magazine that only saw two issues.  The editor was William Hageman, who now lives in Australia.  His press was called Manic Press and he used Douglas Blazek's mimeo machine to print Issue #1 and Ben Hiatt's mimeo machine to publish Issue #2.