Saturday, February 20, 2016

Looking for Diamonds

Dragon Head Sculpture by Ai Weiwei
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


I will open my hand.

I will make the gesture

I learned in the lowlands.

It makes the world

Look like morning.

We can see the thin waist

Of last night’s fire find a

Way to the top of the

Oak grove.  It has
Rooms among the clouds.

You can come with me.

We know the names

And the saints of the air.

They call you goddess

For you were found asleep

In the forest, your hands pointed

Toward awakening.

You were listened to by

Peacocks who rustled

Their feathers for you;

That soft smoothing, the

Gentlest of branches.

I remember wanting to kiss you

Or wanting to return to the river.

The boat carried a reverie that

Understood how these 

Branches worked.

I dreamed I was home.

It was a blaze

I had never seen before.

A thousand tundra swans

Rising above the morning fog

Attempting the same sky

Over and over as in

A dream made of silver

When there had once been

A home.

I recall asking where we were.

You pressed your index

Finger across my lips

To silence me.

We are walking all the ways

Of the forest.  Listen for

The small animals, for talking leaves.

There is a calling that

Makes one want to stay forever.

But it is only one’s imagination

And we are only a song.

 Zodiac Head Sculpture by Ai Weiwei


The high space of street

Just above Gaudí’s 

Parc Güell, at the line

Where one can see

The edge of the park.

Where the neighborhood

Begins again and the magic

Of the park leaks 

Back into the streets

And one can hear

The buses lean 

On their air brakes.

We leaned back against

A building and turned

Our eyes southward,

Looking over the entire

Landscape, down the high

Hillside, over the top

Of the place, and could see

All the way down to Las Ramblas,

To the Mediterranean sparkling

In the distance.

The air was thick with 

The end of Summer.

I left eternity and fell

Into my own mirror,

Not understanding why

I was there at all,

Except to echo the secrets

Collected here, except to know

That the Parc did indeed

Have an end and it showed

Itself to us as a memory

That would happen, but not

For a quarter of a century

Yet.  I could see each

Individual part.

It became difficult to stay

In the present for more

Than a few moments

And we hurried back into 

Gaudí’s parabolic arches

And gravel pathways

Pieced together by shadows.

We decided we might be hungry

And found our way back

Into the concessions

For coffee, some fruit
The sound of two men

Playing guitars and singing

Below the multi-colored

Terraces.  I loved you then

But could feel the coin

Spinning as it hit the table.

We were running out of 

Words and it became

Difficult to hold your hand

In my own as we made

Our way past the giant 

Ceramic lizard covered with children,

Past the dragon gate,

Through the narrow street

And back to the waiting bus,

Where we sat for almost half an hour

In its cool air conditioning,

Not quite believing in the moment

As more than a single instant

Unencumbered by the event

Of our being there, not to be

Recalled for many years.

And you, now dead.

Still trying to explain

The arc of our journey

Using only our breathing

And the elements

Of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Allowing them to enter 

Our blood as the cosmos

Does, finally being lost

Until this moment in the 

Noise of the bus filling up with people,

The big diesel engine 

Hauling us up the street,

Down through the city,

Accumulating all it could

To build itself into these

Years of stars and light

And Barcelona alive again.

 Intersection, Key Street, Locke


Harvesting water.
Wrapping ourselves in ghosts.
We are the star-forming region.
We are struck by lightning
Even as we believe ourselves
To be protected by a roof of desert,
Of mystery, or years of dreams
Covered with the fingerprints
Memory coats every night with
As it shrieks past the evening
Thin with shadows and a castle
Built of bones that can speak
When addressed as a god.

I had a nightingale that displayed
Itself before me like an actor paid
To look like a dream, to ejaculate
Syllables that rang with clear water.
Always alone, no matter how lewd
Or how possessed with claws,
With a crippled moonlight that
Was somehow lost in the street
Looking for diamonds, even the myth
Diamonds carry in their fountains.
I’m not kidding you.

Come here, close to this window,
The one near that fountain,
Look how myths burst into flame,
The children of nightmares
Locked in the pressure of deep
Carbon.  Eventually so smooth
There is no longer room for air
Or imagination.  The entire thing
Has become a pointless blue
Or yellow, even violet but without
Anything that is other than diamond.

And so I drag it over to you
Hoping I have found a universe,
Knowing I am forgetting the dream
Even as I bring myself to dream it.

Iris, Locke


And I thought of the flowers

That held the guns

And opened the yellow moon
To conflagration 

As they marched

And marched

And marched

Giving the single

Gift of their death

As they were picked

For bouquets.  The pretties

Given to the short edges

Of the memory of death.

Spirits all.  Clouding 

The skies with 

Tumbling light 

And thunder

And rain.

Day after day of rain,

Fields in flood and mud

All memory now.

And memory itself

Has so little self

Or, from our brief

Waking, none at all.

 The Storm Above My House

Today’s LittleNip:

As far as I am concerned, poetry is a statement concerning the human condition, composed in verse.

—N. Scott Momaday


Many thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's fine poems and pix! Next Monday (2/22), 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center presents D.R. Wagner, Patrick Grizzell plus open mic. 25th & R Sts., Sac. Host: Tim Kahl.

Today at noon,  Sac. Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) will host finalists in the first Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate contest. Sac. Public Library, 828 I st., Sac. Free. Info:

For more about Antoni Gaudí’s Parc Güell (and the lizard!) in Spain, see

For more about Chinese sculptor Ai Weiwei, see, and his exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum at