Saturday, March 07, 2015

A Window Opens

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


There is much in my heart I do not know.
I can hear the coyote out along the slough.
Tonight a great white owl flew across the road
Directly in front of my car.  I was listening to my head.

It doesn’t have much to say.  You are tired again, D.R.
This moon is called the smallest of the year.
I cannot recall how it felt when your arms were
Around me and we slept that way.  Our breathing.

The sounds this evening included a bunch of frogs
Which reminded me of Mary Oliver talking about
The Spring nights and it seems she was correct again.

I wonder if this is my breath I am listening to
Or if the night has made itself a vehicle for me
To be able to float just above the ground, not dreaming,
But not at all awake.  I can taste your tongue in my mouth.

I leaned against the back of the car and watched the red
Lights climb up the towers, the moon between them.
For a moment I thought there was something I could say
About all this around me but the night was soft,
The place itself so very still, and there I was waiting
For the miracle, leaning against the car, my hands
Not even the slightest bit cold tonight and any longing
Looked very much like that great owl, featureless
As it unlocked the night before me and bet me I
Could make it through another night in my quiet bed.


He placed a common needle in a dish
Of shallow water and the spin it took;
It took away all sliding to the stars,
Buckled asphalt, broke the sidewalks.

This must be earthquake then, he thought
But it was not his to think.  The living earth
Had its own ideas, rose up into his chest,
Pulled his lungs as open as open could be.
There were great cracks in the ground below.
Day and Night swirled together into a spiral.

He grew taller and taller until the sky
Was merely a thought.  He could look
Down from there and see the wind itself
Moving through the world, making everything
A place to go even further.  All had become frontier.

 The Howling of Dogs


Late in the afternoon, Mother would once again tell us what animals we were that day.  Not really in a mean way, but sincere nevertheless.  She always seemed to be searching to get it exactly right.  “You were an elephant and I was surprised.  I haven’t seen you lumber through the house for quite awhile.” She would make her orange tea and sip it while talking to us.  I would hold my brother’s hand and could feel his blood rush through his body when Mom would tell him what he was that day.  "A cricket.  Can you imagine that, Bobby?  You are a cricket.  People keep them in cages.”

I would begin to wipe all the horizontal surfaces in the kitchen with that red, blue and white dishcloth, the one with the loose weave that would always leave marks on the window sill and table.  Doing this made Mom's words come from another being, someone who was always alone.

The truth seemed to dissolve whenever she did this.  Sitting there at the blue wooden kitchen chair, she would lean her back against the wood until I could hear it creak and go through her litany.  I was always hoping to discover something in her messages.  Something that could be believed.

Sometimes our dog Rusty would come in and lie down in the kitchen and listen to her.  I would watch his face and thought he knew why and what Mom was saying.  I think I believed her, but I could never discover where the animals came from.  When she would finish, I would run from the room to go outdoors, behind the garage, down to the creek—anywhere I could feel as if I had escaped my animal.

 Along the Slough


The full moon,
Battering away above the oaks,
Disturbs the owls, but not greatly.
They will return with enough
For us to build the walls
A dream requires, even if
We never know it ourselves.

The storm begins to explain
Itself.  It speaks of water
We swam in, our hands cupped
To let it enter our thoughts.

Here is where oblivion is made,
Where I forget the sound of your voice
But can still feel your hand
Upon me and an inexplicable light
Which sees us touching
The river of the years,
Hoping it will yield
At least a nightingale.



They have broken our memory
And the pages become
Moments with no borders
To connect them to
Our waking life.

Speak to me of the roadways,
The battles frozen in stone
Or blood or both
And carted out to the river banks
To remain forever unknown
As we sweep through the streets
Gathering everything we can
To hold any memory
For a moment.

A window opens

And there she is
Still working on this poem.

 Lion Dancers, Locke


The light coming in across the top
Of the boathouse in the late afternoon.
Floating below the clouds for a few minutes.

I fall asleep for almost an hour.
There has been a hatch of ladybugs
Somewhere close and they are hanging
Out inside and outside my windows.
They are seeing off the Winter
At the end of February.

Today there were five dragons
On Main Street in Locke.
A new produce store was opening.
They went up and down the street
Going in and out of the buildings,
Eating greens and making as much
Noise as possible with drums and cymbals.

Tonight, going to dinner, the lights
Were reflecting on the river and sloughs.
The water a dark glass shimmering.

The moon is heading for full now.
One white iris has bloomed
A couple of houses away.  It kept
Its stalk close to the walk so it
Wouldn’t get noticed for getting here
So early.  The jujube tree is shrieking
With so many white blossoms
It looks as if it is having great fun.

The temperature dropped way
Down again close to midnight.
I have no idea why I have stayed
Up this late gazing at the night.

 Lion Dancer

Today's LittleNip:


How in the world they ever got
up here is anybody’s guess.
Still, with a new suit and snazzy
hat he could knock ‘em dead
every time.  Time wiggled its
finger from behind a rock.  It wore
nail polish.  Wig stands blew
across the desert.  The waving
arms of the sun reached out
to gather all.  The day ends
next to a hole in the wall.
Shadows grow on the side of
the dunes.  He adjusts his shirt
front, cocks his hand and
dances off in the edge of