Saturday, April 18, 2015

Only the Tiger...

D.R. Wagner at Shine, April 2015
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


No one will let us pass.
I hate to tell you this, chaps,
But I don’t really have
Any idea what is going on.

The sky is looking around
For something to throw at us.

We have no weapons
That can help you now.

Our steps become quieter
And quieter until only the tiger
Can hear us walking through
This creation.
Listen to that breathing.

I’m not here to tell you
Something beautiful, but
I recall that, years ago,
Tiresias showed us a flaming bird.

Sit here for awhile again.
A flame.  Look!  A flame.

Some joy right under your chair,
I am beginning to feel all golden.

—Photo by D.R. Wagner


I put my mouth on yours.
There must be cities like this
Somewhere, with all the lights on,
People dancing in their rooms,
Music flowing from their pores.

Rain reflects a million rainbows.
Streets glistening like your lips.
I can feel your breath move over
My face.  It is like coming through
The clouds over a gentle country,
A landscape like your cheek brushing
Mine.  I understand this is a way
Of communicating.  What are we
Saying?  How do we know where
All these doors lead?  Here, come
Quickly, is a heart,
Full beyond belief, unable to give
Itself away fast enough, so full it has

I put my mouth on yours.
There should be feasts like this
On every table, homes like this
For all the homeless, stars like this
For the night sky.  I open my eyes.
It is impossible to believe that
It is ourselves only.  When I say
Your name, you answer.  I put my
Mouth on yours again and again.

(first pub. in Medusa's Kitchen)

Ducks and Doll Leg
—Photo by D.R. Wagner


I have followed you around the world.
Homer told me to do so.  Homer
Is dead.  I heard this in Far Niente.

Let it grow like fungus beneath
My song dreams.  Nothing came of it.
The wail of words through tale
After tale.  The surprise that
Characters could come into the
Words, take control and help
Me believe the music actually
Stopped after the last notes
A sonata could explain so perfectly.

Watching fireworks talking among
Themselves on the shore of a river
Near the end of Spring, just as
The sun had made up its mind
To set a bit later that night,

I ran my hand up your back
Caressing your shoulder blades,
Fell asleep before I could forget
That language gunpowder had exploded.



These words hate me tonight.
They see me sitting before midnight
Unnerved and disturbed that I am unable
To say anything to my friend whose wife
Is so ill she must write words on paper
To say what is her life.

I am destroyed upon dark rocks
On a darker sea.  They cast my
Bones against the foam and moan
Oh moan to me like sinners in
Their discontent.  I am unable
To say anything at all.  Sometimes
It gets like that.  Weeping up
The back stairs.  I sit reading
About men drawing closer
Across the plain.  Eventually
They will come together.
Words will be unable to harm them there.

—Photo by D.R. Wagner


My heart is broken now, so
I’ll take it in my hands,
Carry it outside and throw
It in the light brown garbage
Can, the one that goes to the landfill,

Not the recycle bin with its blue
Serenity and white logo, RECYCLE
ONLY, or the gray of the lawn waste bin,
A brilliant concept in itself
That I am never going to understand.

No, the brown one will do.
Tiende basura, por favor.


Among the coffee grounds, wrappers
From lunch and wadded paper
Towels, a good place for a heart
Like this, then go back into the house

Alone, consider the quality of light
In the kitchen, sweep the floor
So there isn’t anything to indicate
That anything is very different.

A broken heart, oh dear, says the clock.
Now just relax.  I have another
Minute here for you or an hour
Or a month, or the mystery
Of the noise made by some flying machine
High above the house.

I open the door again
To better hear it, it and
The music-moving that wind attempts.

I think of it as song.

—Photo by D.R. Wagner



And I won’t say your name
When I talk about you,
I’ll say there’s a mountain
And skies that were blue.
Descriptions of places
That will always seem true
And are just now and then quite forgotten.

I can remember a time
When your eyes were pure sparkle,
When kisses were breathing
And heaven was near.
When I told you I love you.
It seemed like a love song.
When I’d look in my heart
All the landscape was clear.


We never noticed
That everything changes
Though we all have been told that
Since time first began.
And I guess we were always
Part of those changes.
Though we tried to deny it
They were always at hand.

There’s a place where I keep you.
It’s near where my heart is.
Has views of the past
And the future is there.
Sometimes I can see you
And at other times nothing.
Now I can taste your lips.
Now there’s only the air.


—Photo by D.R. Wagner


Heaven dare not look too long
When soft, my darling, says the moon,
The stars, the whirling balls of stone
That are the planets, to their sleep.
For soft is the song that rises, clouding
Those towers that are praising in those
Fell halls full of angel wings and dawn.

Heaven dare not keep the night long
From around her shoulders where she
Wears it like the cloak it is and
Brings it to our bed, still full of stars
And singing, such shining is herself.
I gaze upon that which angels fear
May tear them from the face of God,
Even for a moment, such is my darling
In her sweet good-nights before we sleep.

(first pub. in Medusa's Kitchen)


Today's LittleNip:


I always think
This pain
Can’t be that bad
Until I see the point
Of the knife sticking
Out of the palm
Of your hand.


—Medusa, with many thanks to D.R. Wagner for the fine poems and pix, and to Michelle Kunert for the fine photos of D.R. Wagner!

D.R.'s shoes
—Photo by Michelle Kunert