Saturday, November 21, 2015

Clutching Toward Forever

Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


There was a room in which we took shelter.

It had a door much like a forest

Would have a door, had a forest a door,

And a single window that looked upon

Whatever one must look upon

When one thinks of the sky as shelter

Or the heart as a roan horse

That enjoyed stepping in a particular

Manner, believing someone might

Be enjoying its prance and circuit

Of that visible space below the window.

I will give you a castle and the

Moat filled with diamonds and the

Drawbridge fixed with the reddest

Rubies, bright as a tiger’s eye,

Walls as white as its teeth.

We will stand there clutching

Toward forever, gathering colored

Stars in an oaken bucket, then

Leave all of this as a sailor 

Does any port, intent only

On what the sea might bring

Once all the land has

Fallen from view.



I will move to the left 

And there will be room for you. 

A thin wall of letters you can see around,

But no.  Just another flurry of words.

When we were children it was all so

Much easier to see.  The words had


They carried a lot of information,

(e.g.) that HEY back there two lines ago…

That was us looking up toward

That open space

Where I moved left.

I’m asking for a little help with this.

Come on over and have a look.

If you are seeing anything 

Like I’m seeing, we’re off

To a good start.   I’ll plan

On seeing you here often.

Just look how much room 

We have, just because

One moved to the left

Of the page.




I knew the moon before

It had a home.

I would meet him or her

(Depending on the season)

And we would have a drink

Together.  The moon always

Laughed when I would

Order moonshine.

 Green River, Utah


Why would the edge

Keep him from falling?

Having purple skin could

Just as well count for as much

In any dream.

But here, he could lean

Extremely far forward

And the tips of his fingers

Somehow aligned with the edge

And things did not seem

As much of a nightmare

As he was used to having:

A big slab of nightmare

Dense like a side of bacon,

Yet transparent.

It was close to morning.

Certainly much closer to morning

Than to, say, a changing 

Of the tide, which would 

Have made more sense,

A reason to have a cup of coffee

And look for someone to talk to

So the confusion about the edge

Might have some real part of it.

No one in the room seemed

To notice his purple skin.

It did have a soft glow to it.

His pores were very small

Which made his skin glisten slightly

So, perhaps, it didn’t look

All that purple

And it was smooth.

He could feel the words 

Touch his skin like cat tongues,

But softer.  When the words

Touched him, he

Could hear them breathe,

Almost like spurring

A wound so comfortably

That when the edge gave way

He didn’t vomit.

His mind wasn’t filled

With the rooms of possibilities

Nightmares carried

In their trunk of devices:

Car keys

The upward glance of a child

A moonlit road running

Much too close to a river
A litany of forms

Backlit by a string of

Rectangular-shaped light,

A glowering sky, by open hearth,

Steel-making furnaces.

This will be your childhood,

The rag man had told

Him when he brought out

The empty soup cans and

Broken bicycle chains.

He pointed to the horizon.

Much too close to any edge.

It was gray.  All shades of gray.

The last thing he recalled

Was a little dog with

White tufts on the ends

Of its ears.

It yapped twice.

Perhaps that is what

Woke him up

So completely.

Fingernails dug into

His palms so deeply

His hands began to bleed.

“That’s no nightmare,”

His grandmother said.

“That’s just a bad dream.

I’ll go make some coffee.

You wait right here.

The sun will rise shortly.”


In November, the new moon

In the arms of the old.

This season doesn’t welcome

Travelers.  It has things it must do.

I’ve brought some gray and black clouds

As an offering, a plea for rain, but it is red

Berries on golden leaves the season wants

Today and the attendants of the sun

Do as bidden.  Every day they have

A new master.  I will wait with these gifts.

The time will come when the day wears deep

Shadows for clothing.  Even now they carry

The sun to the edge of the horizon.

The small creatures scurry away from night.

The wind mumbles instructions, then swathes

Itself in bamboo leaves and branches, bowing

And greeting the middle of November as if

It hadn’t expected it until a few minutes ago.

Where I live, the moon has its own café.

We have one paved street and just where 

Main Street starts to rise to the levees the

Café glows yellow and green with moon songs,

The planing of the mornings. 

From the high

Towers the first birds announce their sightings.

The crows hurry to the East to prepare the treetops.

Tits and wrens and doves and thrushes line

The electrical wires.  Glean what you may,

They say.  There is already snow in the mountains.


Today’s LittleNip:


This poem is not

As empty as it might


There are mysteries

Contained here

And a truth, a terrible truth.


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's fine poems and pix!

D.R. Wagner