Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Moment Before Language

North of Locke
—Photo by D.R. Wagner
—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


The way I saw the dawn arranged:
Ink blood clouds covering most of the skin
Just before the sun found the tops
Of the trees.  These clouds were surprised.

These were no birds that rose up
Before them but words and whorls
Lifted from a leaky pen and becoming
A chart that we might find yes, another
Way to speak to one another.

I get up, carefully wash my hands,
Clear my throat and lift my voice
To reading these words, passing
Them back to where they may
Have come from, a moment before
Language, a moment before I knew
There was ink on both our hands.

How it found its way to the clouds
Is a poet's business.  All we can do
Is use the stains as if they were a true
Map where one heart leads to another.

 —Photo by D.R. Wagner


It was years before we returned
To the site.  A bunch of rotted

Lace, the shaft of the feather,
A small bit of glass that could

Have been part of a smile.  There was
Little left of charm about the place.

A fireplace could be seen through
The window.  It had its own language.

Twigs could have been wishes, branches could
Have been road maps but probably were not.

"Hello," we said as we came closer.
We could see their eyes glowing, warmer

Than any fire.  "We have been here before,"
She says, holding up a medal of the Virgin.

Ah yes, we remember that evening, honey
Poured like dictionaries into our hands.
"We love it like this.  We never thought
We would return here.  Are you our parents?" 

 —Artwork by Kari Kiyono


That the moon doesn't care for Spring.
That it doesn't fill itself out as an announcement
That a season is coming.  It has its own games,
Water, the blood moving through mammals,
Huge hatches of insects making another music.

Still it shines brighter than all else in the night
Sky.  It opens the earth itself in rain or clear
Light and gives names to the waking of the ground.

No matter where we go, if the night is open,
Clear and the course of this spinning planet
Is open and not just showing off the stars,
There she is, her royal majesty, directing everything
From the top of the night, not caring who or what
Sees her light, the llama races or mischief
In the eyes of old magicians somewhere in Mexico.

Slipping through the fog above the Great Lakes,
Holding court before the Northern Lights,
It is still the moon, careless and reclining
On the whole of our sky with us always loving it.

 —Artwork by Kari Kiyono


Strawberry Spring hung round with red-
Breasted robin thrushes pointing out
The air with chips of songs, wings flashing.

Sometimes I'll stand at the door
Just to see what the green is doing
At one moment or, charmed by the sun,
To watch its hopscotch across the streets
Careen off of houses and up in the trees.

The wind takes it to mind that
Today shall be a dance made in a particular
Fashion and we must move to charm or blow away.

Leaning out from the tower, the dark
That has retired before morning came
Reaches into its bag of sleeping hearts,
Illness and the quiet of weeping alone,
Throws us a handful or two of its
Secret gloom, but to no avail.
They become clouds, their shadows entertaining.

—Photo by D.R. Wagner


"...but meaning I would love her forever."
            —Book of Songs

You have taken the morning.
Still I do not see you.
These birds seem tired, pulling
Themselves across the sky.
You have taken the morning.
The sun does not know what to do.

Here the long grasses keep the wind.
It makes no sound as it passes.
Looking from the tops of these
Low hills I listen for some song
But the long grasses keep the wind.
There is such quiet in yearning.

I have not seen you for a single day.
It is like the autumn.
Weeds romp the fields.  I pace to and fro.



I have given you silence.
I have given you an endless blue
That bends to your gaze and reveals
That which was hidden from you.

His body was made of crows
Holding on to each other
By claw and beak.  They broke
Apart beyond the harbor,
Circling back over the fields
Behind us.  Where they flew,
The light turned golden below them.

You have been given the ladder
That leads to the window of immortality.
Yes, the dragon has as many heads
As you could remove.  You will be tossed
So high in air that none shall see
How high you have been thrown.

Death will be beaten from the walls
Of this city and you shall remain here
Forever.  We are near the end of this thing.

All we have are the words and the telling of gifts.
I have given you silence.  I have given you an endless
Blue that bends your gaze past the end of the world.
As long as the story remains, you shall live forever.
It is the fate of these words to remain unspoken.


Today's LittleNip:

My head to the ground,
I hear the crabs and the fishes.
I am out of control.  The genius
Of my breath finds its own canal,
A casket filled with desire.

I run after the train, its whistles screaming.
I used to be a city but now I am a man.
I swear I was rain for a very long time.


—Medusa, thanking D.R. Wagner and his student, Kari Kiyono, for today's delectable delights, and reminding readers that today is a marathon of poetry readings in our area; check out the blue box (under the green box at the right) for all the details. (I see Bethanie Humphries has replaced Meg Pokrass and Bill Gainer at Sacramento Voices tonight.) Please note tomorrow's readings, also, including D.R. Wagner and Katy Brown at Nello Olivo in Placerville, 2-4pm, and Indigo Moor and Sharon Coleman at Avid Reader on Broadway in Sacramento, 2-4pm. AND—don't forget to check out Katy Brown's new album on Medusa's Facebook page: Autumn Rainbows.

D.R.'s Doorway
—Photo by D.R. Wagner