Saturday, May 09, 2015

A Song of Ghosts

Reflection of Bridge
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


Morning has long hands filled with rain.
Its mouth is full of hissing
Down the street, dull gray reflections
On duller window panes.

Morning here is like morning in
The mouth of fog.  It becomes
Hard to tell what one is going to do
With such vast grayness, such
Sameness fondling the day.
Load up the car, drive away.

Every city looks the same.
Everyone’s name has the same
Tonality, a breakdown of fiddle
Music and flat-picked guitars.

A single gull carves an arc
In the mist.  It is only visible
For a moment.  One value exchanges
Itself for a lighter one, then a darker
One, fog moving close to the ground.
Then, finding no place to rest, closes.

(first pub. in Medusa's Kitchen, 2012)

 Locomotive Shops, Sacramento


I’ve got this house in the desert.
They won’t find us there.
You can wear a rose in your hair.
Tomorrow is close, still small, still inert.

You showed me the knife blade.
It almost glowed when I touched it.
Who was going to believe we were here?
We shredded our clothing as it got darker.

We stood on either side of the window
So we could see the streets.  A patrol
Was walking slowly up the avenue
With their dogs and their rifles
Cradled in their arms like something dead.

The streetlight across the way would flicker
Then go out for a few minutes. 
That was our signal to leave.
I grabbed your forearm and pulled
You near to me.  "Listen, this is all
We have left.  We will meet on the other
Side of the river.  Stay close to the buildings."

When I saw the video later, I couldn’t help
But notice that you were biting your lips hard.
I put my hands on the screens.  I could feel you
In the flickering light.  Things would be okay.
The children told me you would be here in morning.
I kissed the back of my hands.  They were trembling so.

(appeared recently in another form in New Flash Fiction Review)

Carquinez Strait (Through Train Window)


I no longer have the freedom
Of promises.  I want you
To roll across my body
With your kisses and your
Breathing and your hands of light.

Come here.  Let us stand
At the window a moment.
The night will know us.

The moon was lifting itself
Away from me and the windows
Next to my bed and I was swept
With a deep longing, full of quiet
And a clock ticking.  Not too far away.

 Tower Bridge from the Train, Sacramento


I always thought no one could
Touch me here where I
Am able to stand and speak this way.
It was a prayer.

I held a broken circle in my hand.
I would walk through the garden
Holding onto it as hard as I could.

I was never that delicate.
I could never control what
I imagined was true love.
This is it.  I’m sure.  Isn’t it?

You became a flock of birds.
Swallows in the last light of day
Swirling and darting through my bloodstream.

 Mikey and Eva's Front Porch


I live alone.
I loved you when you told me
That you didn’t know me at all,
That you didn’t expect to find
Me standing at your door, knowing
What abandonment meant to both of us.

It was like a season of the year
Pouring out behind both of us.
You could see it and touched
Me.  I had thought that I was dreaming.

I heard the chords beginning
To fall into place behind me.
I looked into your eyes.

For one long moment I was there.
Still, I could not lift my arms
From fear and ideas I did not even own.

If you stay here with me, you can hear
The gunshots and see the flights
The birds make across the moonlit air.

I have no instructions for you.
I will hold your hand.
We can walk through these
Doors understanding only
That we will remain fire.

The beast will not recognize us,
It belongs to the rooms
Where all of the music is made by strings.
That creates a buzzing in its head.

We shuffle our feet
As if we actually had feet.

This is a song of ghosts.
I’ve gone and opened my mouth
Once again.  I can no longer
Say I’m sorry.  Forgive me.


Today's LittleNip:


The trees in the wind
Have mouths and their branches
Scream into the air.

Even the birds are afraid.
They sit on the edge of buildings
Staring into an unknown.

—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's fine poems and pix, including some from his recent train trip to S.F. And check out for yesterday's
Sacramento Bee article about Locke (D.R.'s home) and its 100th anniversary celebration today.

—Ink Drawing by Breanna Chan
(Courtesy of D.R. Wagner)