Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Malignancy of Time

Painting Shadows
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


“This won’t leave marks,” he said,
“But it may affect your memory.”

Most of us have gathered here
From legend and myth.  We are
The children of wonder, those who
Know what things are kept by the moon.

We are the unknown, mysterious troubadours
Who have walked through the bitter evening,
All beautiful with ice, the companion
Of mountaineers.  We have taken the stairs
Away from the edge of the world to be here.

We are able to recall the malignancy of time.
We have tasted the bleak, metallic wind
The comes from the stars.  Our love scorns
Death.  Death chuckles.

We live under the spell of music
Yet go mostly unnoticed except
By those who use the language
To open their dreams with knives
Made of clouds and spill it across
The land.  We are the true magic.

We reap all the quiet.  We let history
Own us.  It is in our core.
We can answer from dream with voices
Like rain, and the magic that makes us
Can call us by name.

We claim what is holy, water and flame.
We can reach up and touch planets.
We are a disguise water dons
That allows us to play with the vagaries
Of chance.

We are the secret source, the cosmogony
Everyone searches for every day.
Dragon, whirlpool, tree, panther,
The dressers of wounds, keepers
Of whirlpools, lords of metaphor.

All of this weaving, all of this trouble.
Come here, stand beside us.
We are here tonight
Only to listen to the song
Of the nightingale.

 Edge of Garden


Most devoted is this wind,
Unhurried but persistent
In its naming of the land.

“What country is this?”

“The Wind’s.”

These soft animals of childhood walking
In the last of the twilight.

“Is this where the seasons come from?”

“Look—there is death."  Even his horses
Are beautiful.  He has such multitudes
Accompanying him, he barely notices.
To death it is all music.

We can see eternity getting dressed.
It is wearing purple this morning.
It washes its hands in blood
As if it were a secret.

The power of the wind never lessens.
It carves our faces even as we
Stand still, gazing at the battlefields.



Tonight I could see them coming.
I could see their embroidered waistcoats,
Their high, polished boots that
Reached to the knee and their
Flashing helmets with strange
Designs attached to the top of them,
Designating something important
To them as they rode their
Memorable horses close against
The gates, a kind of vanity
Only discovered when one is driven
From the back rooms of the heart.

They didn’t like to be noticed.
They were without history,
Made of oblivion with no index.
We would always see them
Through another's eyes,
Like poems written by warriors,
Nourished by heroes whose deeds
Were limitless.

Still we could hear them moving
As if they were mysterious trains
Remembering dreams, but unwilling
To unleash the multi-colored ribbons
Borne by such as this music is made.

They would have us understand
For a moment only, so we imagined.
They used up years and they used us up
As we tried to unwind their riding,
Back to the realms from which they came.

 An Alley


These dreams that were our children,
We bury them in the silver of the seas.

I will ask you dance with me for awhile.
And the music will be a waltz.
We will see Christmas when we were small
And the music was all around us and the magic
Was even in our clothing as well as in our bodies.

I will ask you to stand on the top of the hill
On the North side of that copse of trees
We use for firewood in the Winter.
The wind will have at our coats and scarves,
Make them flutter about us as if they would leave
Our bodies as our souls do when we have lost
All of our dreams and our memories are distributed
To those who might find them in their own dreams.

And I will ask you to walk with me awhile
As Ebenezer Scrooge did in his night of troubled
Sleep that we too may gaze upon the children
One last time before the sea swallows them entire
And we are left in our little boat bouncing
Above the top of the waves, the sun glinting
Across their lips almost as if they could speak.



House of bones.
House of bones.
Look, they make the horses.
Look, they make the men.
Look, they make the ladies fair.
Look, then look again.

This sparkling darkness.
Silence beating its padded clubs
Upon the room.  We stand
On the highest point.
It is blue.  The night is blue
And the streets are filled
With blue snow.

Aren’t we forgetting something?
A lacework of lights
Said, the shape of the village
Below.  It seemed so peaceful
There, but it was not where we were.

The engines of the planes gathered
On the sleeve of the night.
We could hear them coming.
There were many of them.
House of bones.
House of bones.
Silver is the sky with falling bombs.

On Campus


The Night is like deep, clear cuts
Into the body.

Skin of a frog.
Chicken in a log.
Playing on the garden wall,
Strutting like a cockerel,
Acting real tall.

Rope broke just this morning
Trying to run away.  Chicken’s
In the pasture, now there’s no place
Left to play.

I’ll tell you what your name is
If you belong to time.  If you don’t,
Then run away or they’ll blame
You for the rhyme.

Chicken’s in the poem now
Dancing for its life.  If it don’t dance,
The cat will prance or pounce,
Announce its chance and chicken’s
Due to bow out.

Be careful what you wish or choose,
Be careful with your feathers,
The night will come, the rope will break,
The cat will prance, you’re bound
To find fowl weather.

Today's LittleNip:


To have feelings that are not your own.
To pick the scabs off of the night.

A broken triumph.
The sound of the land sliding
Away beneath your feet
Even while one is making love.
A song of sweat.

The nerves of the earth
Revealed with the plow.
Exclamations of sad birds
Follow, picking the insects
From its synapses.

The moon wrestling its way
Through the clouds,


—Medusa, thanking D.R. Wagner for today's delicious morning treats!