Saturday, June 06, 2015

In the Realm of Angels

 Artichoke Bloom
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA

          for Skar Plow

Something broke behind my eyes.
I was able to see great fights of birds
In a fictive space within my skull.

The day threatened rain but never
Pulled the trigger.  I could taste the water
On my lips, almost swim in it, but I knew
It did not remember me at all.

When I looked down I could see
A river, with a mouth like Neruda making love.
And the sun was an evening mist that made
Color dance.  I wanted my skin to be like that.

Darkness promises me particular things
But I refuse them.  It begins to pursue me
With blood stains and rivers of which
I cannot see the banks.  I can feel my destiny
Touch me in my most intimate places, laughing
As if it has discovered something about me
Which I cannot know without living thousands
Of days more, listening for the horsemen,
Rushing to the shadows when I hear the hooves
Thunder closer and closer.  From here I can see
The circle about to close.  I write furiously, attending
To the preciousness of words as if they were my children.

 Amulets and Offerings


Lights begin to go off and on
Farther down the road.
We thought it best to don our cloaks.
“What are we waiting for?” asked Gabe.

“I have my horn,” she added.
“I thought I recognized someone
You knew that you had forgotten,” I added.

“Well, invite him up.  It’s been a long
Time since anyone who didn’t
Know him recognized him.”

“He had a long knife,” I said.

“Oh, him,” Gabe answered.



Their lamentations are endless.
Their garments laced with painful
Lines as they tear their clothing,
Pull their hair from their heads.
Today one can stand among them,
Draped with gold leaf and transformed.
We can be these angels.  They infect
Our eyes with their twisted splendor.
We know exactly what they have seen.

Where I am today, they hover over the river.
They have become herons and egrets.
No less angels, they remain the passion
Beneath the beauty of every moment.
The gardens have sprung from the sloughs,
Sprung from the body of a dead Christ.
This can speak even here, centuries later.
We remain in the realm of angels.
We live in the next world.  We lick Giotto’s
History with our tongues.  The dead Christ,
Now a landscape, envelopes us completely.

We are able still to lean over the body
Of the delta and see those angels
Above us, every movement grief and anguish
Exploding in the dark sky.  Each part touched
By a perfection of gold leaf and unfailing belief
In angels, always angels, always their lamentations.



Between this world and the next one
I ask you to accept these words.

Blood runs from my mouth and I hold
An apple in my hand as an offering.
It too is red and sweeter than my mouth.

I too am a figment.  I dress myself in clouds.
I have no voice but the earth herself.
She teaches me to speak in this manner.



What does one mix with tears
If not a curtain made of yesterdays.
Smiles in a closed box
No one is able to open again.
Piles of twigs heaped together,
Each pile with a dream
At its center.

One of birds.
One of the voice of fire.
One of the names of the stars.
One of broken promises.
One of decks of playing cards,
Each one lacking all aces.

I will take them all.
I will put them with my tears.
Later we will weave blankets of them.

They will keep us warm.
They will help us recall
The lovely horses,
The miles that we rode
Just to be here and see these things.

I’m skipping to the ending.
We wash our bodies,
Close our eyes
Sleep in each other's arms.

Carry me with you as you would your shadow.
I will come and go with the changing of the light.

I have come to understand fire and desire.
People on this earth tell me many things.
What should I believe about you then?

Often I am a fog or a frost upon leaves.
I will drift into your thoughts on occasion.
You may think you have heard my voice.

I will implore you to dress yourself in love
That I may know you and intuit your footsteps
In all the centuries.  I will never pretend to you.

 Behind Martin's Home


There is never evidence of when
I have made love to you.
The wind addresses the sails
But the tales could be of anyone.

I am just beyond this room
Where the tops of trees
Can show me only the flights of birds.
Then the music fades as if it
Hadn’t expected anyone to be
Listening to it carefully.

So I’ll tell you once again.
This is my heart.  I love you.
It washes away in the wind.
I am confused by the way words
Want to push me away here
And allow a blank white
Chariot to stand ready but unwilling
To make any move.

I grab the reins, totally uninformed.
I see you there before me.
I can learn.  I will know your song.
Sing it to me.


Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for this fine way to begin a weekend! And a note that the last issue of Len Fulton's Small Press Review, which has been a mainstay in the small press since 1964, is now available. Len himself passed in 2011, but Dustbooks has soldiered on, and it will be sorely missed. For more info, see


Today's LittleNip:


The moon has come tonight,
Raiding my bedroom.
It takes possession of the walls,
Fading the pictures hanging on them.
It changes the color of my sheets
And leaves me pale in the cool light.

“I won’t be here long,” says the moon.

“Watch me.”



 Full Moon Through Window