Saturday, August 08, 2015

Keep Looking

—Sketch by Bernie Wrightson, 1984
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


The rabbit stopping in the snow, in the blue
Light of the Winter moon, catches that light
In his eye and throws it back into the sky
With an eye so small, a star we see so bright.

Giant trees tower above us as we walk, snow
Crunching beneath our heavy boots.  We have
Camps to reach and villages to find before the dawn
Has any thought of molding the objects of the morning.

From where we stand, we can see the grey wolf shadows
On the hillside far across the creek from us.  They move
Away and down the slope, “looking for yet another star”.
Your wisdom seems tempered by the hour and the perfect
Stillness this single night has as we move through it.

“One who names the stars has called us here, that we
Too may know the names of stars.”  Fish below the ice
Gaze upwards as well, the sleeping bear listens to the naming,
Rolls slightly and nurses the cubs close against her fur.

This is so perfect, here on this whirling planet
With its bright blood and vales of tears.  Let it
Retain its stillness just a moment more so that we
May notice in this moonlight a quick mouse
Upon the forest floor, and see an owl not see it
As its feathered flight in silence recites the litany
Owls might make as they too know names of stars.

 Evening Over James' House


A voice says that
You’ve seen this before,
But you haven’t.

The soft evening settling
Above the small houses.
The easy light glowing
Though pull-down shades.

A radio lost in the dim
Atmosphere with its own
Orchestra playing
Variations on Greensleves.

You can’t remember
This ever being true,
But you are sure
You’ve seen it.
You keep looking.

 In the Chinese Demonstration Garden


Morning has long hands filled with rain.
Its mouth is full of trees 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.
The yes, finding no place to rest, close.



Teaching the rain
To batter the rooftops,
Fill the river until it boils,
Fill dams to the brim.

Rehearse it over and over
Again, above the gardens,
Above farms and orchards,
Down the bedroom windows,
Alert to its every move.

Watch the sun
Steal the child
Away and hold it
Now for over three

 Alfredo's Cat


The snow, quieter than
A heartbeat, has some
Business with the ground.

The room rocks like a small boat
Bumping into things.
The cats are suspicious.

An old woman carefully
Picking her way through
Her years, forgetting her
Neighborhood, says:

“The snow may be white
But there is fresh blood
Beneath it, like someone
Bit through their tongue.”


The curtain is rising
Like a pilot to my heart,
And I’m not seeing a thing
On the street.
It’s moving farther away.
There’s no place left to start.

Dreaming like a machine.
The doors are open wounds.
I’m preparing to feed the demons
If I could remember what they eat.

Stumbling into your doorway once again.
Ghosts full of howling.
Highways full of cold light.
Every one of them noon time.

Everyone in heaven is dead.

 In Mike's Front Yard


What will keep us here?
Some terror that rides
Us like a horse?

The voice of an old woman
Telling us what terrible
Things we have become
As she swats at imaginary
Flies and begs us
To help her, but not come
Too close.

The young man who
Every few hours sticks
His head in the window
And announces yet
Another fire, pointing
His finger at a horizon
Too hazy to even be seen clearly.

Stop-and-go traffic
Through the center
Of a great city
At night.

People banging on windows
Trying to see sell oranges,
Clothing from China,
Their own children.

A voice whispers delight
Through a broken window,
Telling us how lucky
We are to be alive.



That moon isn’t supposed
To shine through my bedroom
Window like that for at least
Another hour or so.

I’d tell it about
That, but I’m just
About to fall asleep.

I am sure everything
Will be okay in the morning.

 Morning Glories

Today’s LittleNip:


My German grandmother
Walked me to the grocery
Store with her of a Saturday.

I was small, about seven years old.
I listened to her talking
To the butcher and ordering
Her meat in thick English.

When we got back to her house
She told me, “English.
The only thing it is good
For is ordering groceries.”


—Medusa, thanking D.R. Wagner for a hearty start to our weekend, and noting that Trina Drotar has posted photos of the landscape work being done in Poet Laureate Park; they're on my own Facebook page (Kathy Kieth) rather than Medusa's. Thanks, Trina, for the update! 

The Western Sky