1. A fountain almost entirely filled with coins. The water
Is only inches deep and the fountain continues to be filled each day
By those seeking favors of the water.
It is decided not to remove the coins but instead
To build a new fountain much larger than the first
To catch the overflow of water. The fountain
Had been filling for centuries yet no one would remove
The coins lest the magic rescind itself.
The water makes the most beautiful of sounds
As it tumbles into its many basins.
2. A remote island where sound is grown.
It reaches a noisy variety and is given
To the waves where it will travel the globe.
Its currents are the paths of migrations
Of birds above. The storks, the swallows, the great
Terns, the eider ducks, the snow goose.
3. Three men have the same dream on the same night.
They are not able to recall its contents.
4. A tablature that allows one to play the Stations
Of The Cross on any instrument.
5. A comb for the hair, designed by bees to be used
Only by the dying.
6. There were images before her eyes that could not be
Described without a truly original language.
7. When they shook hands, their hands burst into flame.
8. When the car crashed into the tree, all four doors
Sprung open and over thirty dogs leapt from the vehicle
And vanished into the night forest.
9. We were looking at the ocean. A great hand descended
From the clouds and pressed the waves flat
For several minutes.
10. By the time we reached Bournemouth, the entire town
Had been abandoned except for the birds who seemed
To be everywhere.
11. When he shot himself in the head,
He missed and hit the moon.
12. Charles told us of a place not far
From his ranch where the flies
Could shape their bodies collectively
To spell words. He said they cursed a lot.
13. I was looking deep into her eyes. There
Were cities in there. People walked
By in there. I recognized one of them.
She raised her finger to her lips, asking
For quiet. “Listen to the birds,” she said.
14. Twilight built a church on the far
Edge of the field. It looked as fragile
As the cape that covers the dreams of children
When they wake, surprised in the night,
Seeing the spirits glowing in the air
Of their bedrooms.
15. When the spear went into the tiger,
It turned immediately into water,
Filling the jungle around the beast,
Causing him to glow with a bright
White and gold light.
16. There were shepherds on the hills
Keeping their flocks. An angel appeared
In their midst. Each shepherd recognizing
It as someone who had loved them deeply
And had disappeared long ago.
17. A sudden pouring of salt.
The moon rises.
18. Some men had gathered around the fire
Pit. The dogs at the edge of the light
Recognized them and set up a bawling
That stayed mostly in their mouths.
They did not come closer.
19. The women were made of a magnificent
Glass that vibrated when touched. They
Talked among themselves. It was as a
Cantata filled with lightning
And a carillon discussing friendships.
20. No one has believed anything that was said.
They claimed it was poetry. It was
The same sound as waves lapping
Into a shingle beach, almost like talking.
THE LIGHT POSTPONED
Relieved to be dreaming.
No need to understand
Each and every action
Or what was said.
A beautiful confusion
Settles in the heart.
I never question if you
Love me or not, or if you
Wear gold or red, what
A smile might mean.
I am trying to speak
As clearly as I can.
Don’t let the words slide
By and fill each moment
With a detachment of emotion.
If you cut your finger
It will still bleed. The sea
Will remain the sea.
Like the song says
“A kiss is still a kiss,
A sigh, a sigh.”
The only difference
Is that we are not awake.
We are dreaming. Anything
Is possible at this moment.
My heart flutters from my chest,
Becomes a flock of brightly colored
Birds that can speak as we do.
We hold hands and laugh at them.
Like an iceberg, everything floats.
Most of what it all means is hidden
Below the surface, struggling
To keep everything upright.
THE STORY OF HOW THE MOON GOT ITS GUARDIANS
Long, long ago when the moon was very, very young
and unprotected it was used by everyone. Man, gods,
and animals would rush through its gates nightly (for
the moon was much closer to earth at that time) and
take as much of her light as they could hold and then
leave. Sometimes there was so little of the moon left
that there was no light at all and the moon would disappear.
Even stories told of the moon were usurped by seekers of
fame. The moon had no stories to tell. The night was
The creatures of the night became angry at the loss of
their light and sent an emissary to the emperor of the
islands that are all Japan, asking that he protect the moon
and her beauty.
The emperor agreed at once and began by moving the
moon away from the earth to a place in the sky where
no one could reach her without difficulty. He appointed
four guardians to her. They became known as follows:
The Guardian of the Gates of the Moon. This guardian
stood in front of the palace of the moon and challenged
anyone who had business with her. The poets and dream-
ers were allowed in, the thieves were turned away.
The Guardian of the Legends of the Moon. This guard-
ian was charged that the moon would always be given her
proper due in tales told of her and her feats. No longer
could gods claim to move the tides and fill the glades of
night with soft light. This alone was of the moon.
The Guardian of the Phases of the Moon, whose job it
became to conserve the light of the moon and regulate it so
that its light would rise and fall throughout the months of
the year. In this way the world would have moonlight most
of the year. The moon was even given a few days to rest so
it could gather its light. This became the dark of the moon.
Finally, The Guardian of the Bundle of the Moon was
appointed. This guardian was a poet and he had the most
difficult job of all. His job became that of protector of all
of the moon that was not its home, its phases or its legends.
He would guide its light so that the creatures of the night
would look as beautiful as possible in its silver glow. It was
this guardian who directed the light of the moon into the eyes
of lovers and who painted the leaves of the trees with moonlight.
It is because of these guardians that the ways of the moon are
as they are. They were given immortality by the gods, who
praised the wisdom of the emperor for his careful work in
allowing the moon to belong to the whole world.
TO THE QUIET
I can’t look at you without
Thinking that I am holding
You in my arms. We are looking
At how the waves know things
And tell them to the sea birds.
We talk about this. You sigh.
It all seems like it will be
Miles before we find the road
Back to town. Wheels crunching
Gravel, splash of a small creek
As we cross it.
I can’t find the meaning of these things.
You say it is because
They have not happened.
We stop the truck and listen
To the quiet. You may be right.
There are figures moving
Through the trees. We can’t hear them
Talking to each other. They sound like us.
THE ENSEMBLE OF UNCERTAINTY
Come make the room around me.
I will touch your body and we will
Know the sun at midnight and repeat
All that we have known when we were one.
Look at my hands. See how they move.
They are like Spring around you.
Hold me in your arms. Use your lips
On mine. There is no deception but
Time lies to both of us. It has its own crimes.
It asks us to choose the treasure.
Whatever we might imagine to be
Love will be love and climb
Our bodies to find that light we carry
With our personal pearl-like angels,
Full of landscapes of the delta
With its far views and secret water.
What is uncertain? What do we choose
To see that no one else is able to see?
If I put your name in this arena, eventually
Everything will become my fault, a thing
I overlooked while seeking to touch you
In the most intimate of your many hearts.
Forgive me, I find myself uncertain
In every argument I have with time.
Sometimes it is like trying to read
A book in which none of the pages
Have been slit, a difficulty in shepherding
Splendor as it pours through our agony
In attaining grace as we attempt to approach
Heaven. “Hey, it’s me.
Do you still know who I am?"
When I woke
There was a spider
Left over from a dream
Just behind my eyes
Waiting on its web
Toward the top
Of my skull.
It never moved.
It was large
It stayed there
Waiting as only
A spider is able
—Medusa, reminding you to mark your calendars for next Sat. (8/16), 6:00pm, for the release party for D.R. Wagner's new book, The Night Market (with Rebecca Gozion), at Moon Café
--> Gallery, Main St., Locke (moonartcafe on Facebook). Featured will be readers D.R. Wagner, Robert Lee Haycock, Tim Harper; music from Proxy Moon with Patrick Grizzell; plus special guests and refreshments. Suggested donation for the band: $5.