Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oh, Angel of Light!

—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA
—Photo by D.R. Wagner


When they tore the door off the
The yellow world,
We surrounded ourselves
With flaming birds.

They quickly formed the wilderness.
One day was not different from another.

They annihilated all the armies.
Oh angel!  Oh Angel of light.

We came as far as the gate
Looking into the garden.
We could see the guardians of memory.
They could be called quietly
For what they had killed
But they could not be forgiven.

Your mother may be in these flames
Looking through the eyes of the trees.



This embroidered bird
Was just something
I dreamed up after dinner.

A kind of ship, useless
Except for the light
It cast on the water
In the harbor and the fact
It had sails painted
With scenes that changed
With each watch.

At one point, one could see
The hills stretching back
From the harbor.  The lights
From the harbor, the lights
Of the far farm houses dotting
The landscape as the Winter
Evening reached out to hold everything.

She bent close to my neck,
Telling me a story of how insomnia
Once had a town but it had died
On the edge of a rise that
Perched above a great reef.

One could see its body, night
After night, during minus tides.

 —Photo by D.R. Wagner


I await the passage of small things.
The fly across the width of the kitchen
Disappears into the screen and is gone.

The kitchen clock isn’t quite broken enough.
Every three minutes it sucks a chunk of electricity
From the storage battery and makes a deep “thunk”
As the time changes.  I cannot see the second hand
Move.  It is too thick and is twisted.  Perhaps if I paint
It red or give it a name, that will attract more than the attention
Two house wrens seem to insist on giving it as they cluster
Near the window.  The quick beating of their wings makes
A tiny rainbow just before all three birds depart, a single tweet.

The moon tonight, a legend just barely over the hedge.
Light cracking through the thinnest branches, not eager
To divest itself of all the other night sounds.

An easy warbler cast of this light cradled close
To the branch where we sit waiting for that
Single cricket to unlock a particular sound that
Will open everyone in the house into an easy sleep.

A large owl and two bats make certain we know
These quiet hours the breeze lifts me from could be sleep.
In my mind it occurs to me that this says something about a style,
The way a mainsail might address a following wind, saying, “Brother.”



Little breaking sounds
Around the edges of your smile.
A ghost of recognition buys a ticket
And boards a train to the Lava
Beds National Monument
In Northern New Mexico.

“Come here.  You can watch
The plane going down, engine
On fire.”  Mike Todd framing
The shot seconds before the
Sky and the ground became one.

A couple of years later my scout troop
Finds some airplane parts in
Black crevices of the lava beds,
But we are looking for rattlesnakes.

 Pat Grizzell and D.R. Wagner reading at SPC
—Photo by Martha Ann Blackman, Sacramento


So they were waiting in the garden

And the dreams were out of reach

And folks kept coming up to ask us for the time
And it seemed as if we knew them
Then Patrick yells out “Screw ‘Em.
If they know our names we know they’re telling lies.”

They are standing close together

And they smell like fresh-tanned leather

But they speak with French and English all the time.

We begin to tell the poems we brought

But we’re both afraid we might get caught 

And we’re talking in stage whispers

Singing songs that make air blister 

But we’re feeling hot and we’re feeling sweat

And no one wants to make a bet
As each word wraps itself in line and then lets go

We’re sure we’re right but we forget,

The whole place shining like a dime


We know the crowd’s half crazy.

But we’re pulling on their daisy

And they want to hear the words

But the meanings get obscured

When you’re speaking poems you know

It’s way too late, sitting in some parlor

Or waiting at the gate, no matter what we say

It’s true, it’s real and we won’t waste your time.

Still we’re talking like we’re praying

And the world itself’s still spinning round the sun.

I forget now how much of this is true,

But that don’t stop our saying.  We keep

Hoping that they’re listening and not fools.

And I begin to kill the lights, someone trips

And starts a fight.  Still we keep talking louder.

They might be waiting till it’s over.

We’re sure we’re right but we forget,

The whole place shining like a crime.

I loved you before I got here and I’ve wanted

Everything you are pressed close to mine.

But the only way that I can say it is to make

It sound like this so it might be entertainment.

You’ll never know, I’ll never tell and even though

It hurts like hell, the smoke is fire and the fire

It comes bubbling through the floor.

And I can see you sitting there, 

You are broken, do you think I care?

I know the difference between right and wrong

And I need to say I want you, please be mine.

We’re sure we’re right but we forget

And this whole room is shining like a dime.

This is all that’s happening, another poem,
Another song, another cut into a vein,
A bell, a chime.  The crows they gather
In the beams and start to pass out crazy dreams.
Take what you want or what you need.
There does not have to be a reason.
We are here and we’re together and words
Are as fucked up as the weather.  I’ll shut my mouth,
Pretend that you are mine.
And somewhere outside this place
We will lose ourselves and lose our grace.
And I will breathe into your face.  And it might cruel
And it might be paste or it might be love that
Lives beyond all time.  And I’ll shut my mouth.
We’re sure we’re right but we forget
And this whole thing took two minutes of your time.

 Russ's Packard
 —Photo by D.R. Wagner


Does it matter if we find out the meaning?

This is sand we are walking upon.
The ecstasy is our eyes
And the echoes they toss
Back and forth.  We can
Wear hunger like clothing
And no one will notice
We are naked, like yesterdays
Swept beneath the sword.

These lacerations are Sunday morning.
I will watch the battles for you.
I will tell you when they have become dust.
I will sit in the garden behind the myths
Flashing as your landing light.
I will be your child.
You will hold me to watch me breathing.

 Gladioli at Mike's
 —Photo by D.R. Wagner

Today’s LittleNip:


The clearest of glass is that of the dream.
She woke me at three AM
To run this by me.

I had to wake, get out of bed
And write to make me free.

“I can take any form I want.
Why did you give me one
That rhymes?”

“You need the exercise.”
She said.

“Now stop this one on a dime.”

The end.


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's fine poetry breakfast and his photos, and to Martha Ann Blackman for the photo (below) from last Monday's Sac. Poetry Center reading, which featured D.R. Wagner and Patrick Grizzell. See Medusa's Facebook page for more photos of that reading, sent to us by Martha Ann and by Michelle Kunert.

D.R. Wagner
—Photo by Martha Ann Blackman