Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Drifting in the Heart

From the Train
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


A great sadness passes over me.

I can see vast distances for moments

At a time.  There is no breeze.

Sheets of heat undulate in the air.

There is no wind.  Speech is impossible.

So much has happened that no one 

Here can remember anything.  It is 

A great amnesia that seems to exclude

Love.  People are going around

Killing one another.  Wars are started

Over bad manners and bad changes of direction.

They are playing our favorite song.

They play it over and over.

You know all of the lyrics perfectly.

They go with your outfit.  The one

You will wear tonight.  There will

Be a party.  Everyone will be there.

In the distance we can see

A man walking through the wasteland

Very slowly.  He seems to want to tell us

Something.  We don’t know what it could be

But we know it is important.

We run toward him.

We begin receiving signals.


A drifting in the heart.  Long 

Sounds that find no solace.  No matter

Where they go they remain wanderers.

We will find them on the shores of the lake

After storms that rip the lining of the night

Easily from its darling moon.

Someone must have seen where the careful

Touch has gone, where the sandals cut

The crust of the morning away from the bread

And no hand, oh pretty creatures they are,

Could move as brutally, tearing the stars

Down from the black lion of night,

All kindness gone, its blue cart tipped

On its side in the crowded streets.

No one wonders any longer.

Dammit all anyway.  All they ever

Wanted were blankets to keep warm

And just a touch of a hand,

Someone to say, “Do not be afraid at all.”


The month had emptied

Itself out.  Everything it had

Contained was spilled in front

Of it like it had been

Too much to hold and, in the

Middle of October, had

Twisted around a corner

And spilled its guts 

Into the street.

“Try not to walk in any of that

Stuff, man,” a slightly familiar 

Voice said.  “My cousin died

Last weekend.  I know 

He’s in there somewhere.

He was 26 years old.”



And she says, “What’s that supposed

To be?”  And I tell her it’s my

Life and that it looks like this

Because I’ve been living for 

A long time and there has been

Some damage to some part of it.

“You can say that again,” she says.

So I do.


The sky was charring.

The dark trumpet eyes

Of the evening fell upon

Us in a memory of bison
Herds and great raptor

Birds searching for souls.

For a kind of emptiness

Not found in the quiet

Things of this world.

They need that swelling

Found in fine jazz

That is never spoken, but pulled

From strings and brassy 

Horns, from reeds and the hurried

Footsteps of time long ago.

Sweeping memory from the sky,

Not peeling it away from itself.

Trying to form a simple

Circle of any given day

As we undress ourselves,

Knowing we will once again

Be ruled by the most

Profound sleep imagined.

 At Les' Home


How far will we come into any universe,

Making our sad procession, before we discover

That we are indeed the door to the heavens.

At times the stars look like armies surrounding

Temples of compassion.  These were recognized

By tribes long before we came to perform here.

Again and again we forget that death always

Ends every parade and career, showing its folly

Beneath that white mouth speaking 

Above all cities. 

We only see these stars when darkness 

Consumes all that we admire.

Be still, the centuries of the spirit.

Empty the ragged halls filled with seasons

That move like islands of dream while we lie

Down next to forever and play with its body.

Continue to stand over against the sun

As the rain becomes darker and darker.

This is not a music but a “door standing open

On horror.”  We must be of life.  All words of life.

An embrace of a life without guilt as we were

When children.  “Look, look,” we can shout,

“The sun.”  Each of us as dazzling.


We are multitudes that no longer

Fear death, for it too lives.

Hold everything dear, children.

Embrace everything.  We shall

Never leave. 

Answer me.


Today’s LittleNip:


Turquoise fire

And if rubies could burn

That color, of blood

Near the heart.


Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for this morning’s fine fare, and a reminder that he will be reading in Locke today (Saturday, Oct. 17) with Al Winans and Cassandra Dallett in Danger! at the Moon (Cafe Gallery), Main Street, Locke, 5pm. Info: moonartcafe on Facebook or 916-776-1780. Small donations requested at the door.