Saturday, November 07, 2015

Hands That Hold My Heart

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


The room had no ceiling.

Someone had recently taken

The stars out for their evening walk 

And they remained excited by the 

Tears were suspended in the air.

We could walk between some of 

Them and hear their voices full

To the brim with the joy and sorrows

They contained.

I cannot name the beasts who dwelt

There.  They had faces like people

We all knew.  So few of them had 


They were the vermin of politics,

Blind to most all of whom walked

These beautiful plains.

I have been asked not to speak

Of the rivers of blood, but to dwell

Upon the bliss possible at the edge

Night collects about itself before

All turns to darkness.

I should mention a kiss

And not speak of the mangled,

Distraught and mad who walk beside

Us everyday.  Why would you care

About such things when the stars

Are as eager as puppies to please

Your imagination.

I have been told I must end this way

Of talking and leave such journeys

To those unable to dream.

Look, even now they come to a stop…


They were lighting small lanterns

All the way across the headlands.
Ships were coming.  They

Had been seen from the pilot hill.

Bright flares on the tops

Of their masts.  The lights

They carried were of many colors and

Occasionally shot bursts

Of colored flame into

The high atmosphere

Illuminating the bottom 

Of the clouds.

The coming of these ships

Had been foretold but

They were not expected

To arrive in the dead of winter.

The children had begun

Behaving strangely about

A month ago and the Teal

Gulls were seen on the 
Edges of the Father-glade.

At night the booming 

Of the fisher bells

Could be heard at
Curious hours of the night.

There was a hesitant

Music coming from the

Taverns that was neither

Joyful nor sad.  It held 

A great sense of longing in its notes.

We were unable to determine 

If there were words to the songs.

The crowds grew well into the night.

The ships arrived much past midnight.

Were these sailors Gods

Then, plucked from the night

And to be proclaimed

Throughout the land?

Their garments were magnificent.

Some of us could see 

Them, some could not.

Quickly there were stories of them

Before the morning came.

People were waiting upon

Them for answers.

The ships glittered with lights.

In the morning they were but

Hulls abandoned and gray,

Peopled by shades the same gray

As the forged bullets with which

The world infects itself.

There was no conversation.

There were no oracles.

Glimmers ran softly up the sails

Like fairy lightning and

Nothing was forthcoming.

All day they sat in the harbor,

A kind of fungus on the water.

By nighttime, fires were

Started on their decks.

They burned with sickly

Colors and drove flights

Of dark birds around

And around their sails

Even as they burned.

On the following morning,

Ashes on the water.

The children packing 

Their lunches and
Heading off for school

Whistling tunes and

Singing songs we 

Had never heard before.

By the end of the week

We were once more

Upon the beautiful

Hills gazing out to sea,

Hoping to spot a sail.


Okay, the light was burning in the castle.

I was standing in the hall.  I wasn’t even dreaming.

Still I could hear you call.  And it was still too far to fall.

Broken willow on the shoreline.  Eyes that could stab,

Take the quick road to the heart and punch a hole.

I tried to understand it but there was too much pride in my soul.

When I got to the watchtower there were dead people on the floor.

Some of them had names like mine, others had no names at all.

I begged them for forgiveness.  They had no idea how I could speak

Out loud.  Ain’t no coming back.  Ain’t nobody holding an open door.

I sat down to wait for that special hour.  The dark bird flying 

Into the mouth of the shower.  I can't meet you there.

I work in the tower.  I stand in the rain.  The water reminds me

That my blood is insane.  I hide myself where my skin begins to tear.

I’ve walked away from this room.  Please don’t remember my name.

I don’t know what you need.  I just don’t understand.

Who are you anyway?  I’m still way past insane.

Whatever it is, I can’t give you a hand.


I watched them fall off the edge of the cliff.

It has been months since I have seen your face.

All I had was your voice banging around in my heart.

Everyone can see us standing here.  I don’t know

Why I am still talking to you.  They tore a hole in my

Life that I have no way to understanding.  How can I feel

This way?  I watched you fire up your bike and blow

Away down the street.  What is this supposed to be about?

They told me I would never forget you.  You were not the wind.

You were not the sea and I was not the noise that roamed
Through your heart.  Save me were I were.

I am a creature of the shore and can only stand here

Unashamed and so in love with your love that it rises

Above my heart and raises its hands to become

Their own lions.  I shall be the kiss upon your mouth.

And you shall be the hands that hold my heart.


I don’t remember even thinking

That I ever needed you.  

All the roads split wide open.  

You were standing by the gate.

It was way, way past the nighttime;

It was much too long to wait.

Leave me here before the sea wall,

Give me words or maybe not.

I found myself back in the alley

Begging you for one more shot.

Dream your dream of when I loved you.

Dream your dream or maybe not.

Dream some wicked explanation.

Don’t tell me that’s all you’ve got.

Drifting, drifting, drifting,

The ghost lights sticking to the shore.

I could tell you that I loved you

But there wouldn’t be much more.

I’ll still be standing on the hilltop

And you’d still forget my name.

I’d be breaking just like egg foo yung.

I would still be this insane.

Touch me with your precious tenderness.

Run your hands across my skin.

Leave me by the dying embers.

I can swear I never lied.


She said it was a toy train.

It was made of spider webs.

It disappeared through a closed door

Not like any train I had ever seen before.

My dog came through the mirror

Without a sound, without a sidelong glance. 

Derelict, abandoned, a room without a floor.

The train could move inside a dream facade.

Littered with old memories, their meaning gone

Like rain that through a broken window pane might pour.

And I dwelt there through a thousand nights

Caught by the grey of shadows, a prisoner 

Of the moon, a captive of the spirits that

Dwell inside my bones, a distant ringing

Of a bell across the quickening season.

Masked, unmasked, another mask and then no more.


This path leads along the shore-

Line for about a mile, then ducks

Beneath some wind-shaped pines

Into a cove where the moon may

Always be seen as it assembles

Its lines and hoists itself

To the night sky.

Years ago many people would gather
Here to watch these preparations,

But now this place is mostly forgotten.

Those who came here have mostly died

Or have gotten themselves far, far away, no longer

Thinking of this place.

I came here with gifts for the moon,

But it will not receive me and prepares

Its rigging, mixes its huge variety of lights

And sits down for a few minutes

Before it is time to lift above the tree line.

I watch it practice becoming huge, then

Diminishing to the much smaller size

It uses to reign as lord over the night.

It flips through its phases, tucking itself

In here and there, using the shadows

To its greatest advantage to remain

As beautiful as possible.  It is

An amazing display and takes place

In that regal silence the moon demands.

After awhile, I am joined by a few

Others who know of this place.

They come for inspiration and to restart

A sense of wonder lost to themselves

In their commerce with the world.

For centuries this place has been

Such.  I have seen the winds here,

Flocks of owls and creatures who

Build the night.  Last to arrive

Are the dreamers in their gauzy 

Garments, truly stardust and breathing,

Smoothly and deeply.

The moon begins its ascent.

The night settles into itself perfectly.


Today’s LittleNip:


The room was laid with knives.

How I was I to communicate with you?

Who is the creator?  When I opened my mouth

There was a lot of blood.  I didn’t know language

Could work like this.  I was as light as a feather.

It must have been my memory.

Then, I was majesty.  How quickly the heat

Leaves the body.

Children with bundles of sticks 

On their backs move through the streets.