Saturday, March 05, 2016

Carnivals of the Heart

Above East Locke, 3/3/16
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


She comes into the room

With the moon tucked

Under her arm.

Her fingers are dusted

With that blue yellow gold

Rubbed from the moon.

“You can’t keep that,” I said.

"Ahh, but I can,” she said.

“I will and shall dance upon it.”

Stars shot from her mouth.

I clamped my hands over my ears

So as not to hear.

I could feel the tides 

Rushing through me,

Calling as they moved through me.

I begin forgetting myself.

I make a grab for the moon

Just as she is about to dance on it.

It wobbles across the room

And we are both chasing it

As it heads for an open window

With a serene imposing dignity

That one sees occasionally 

In the unvanquished; a certain

Uncommon reordering of reality.

For a moment it looks to be

Made of marble.  It quickly

Mounts the sky, cheered on

By the minions of the night.

It illuminates the spiderwebs

She used to trap the precious moon.

“Now look what you’ve done,”

She says, reaching into the night.

The seas rise in approval.

We are once again travelers

In service to its great mystery,

Its amorphous light, its myth,

Its epic wonder.



Do you remember me?  I asked the tree

Which had grown in my absence.

So much water had rushed under the bridges

At Remagen, Corazon, Kyoto (cherry trees

In blossom in the Spring!) and it was only

A tactical decision to fail to mete out a memory

Of bridges near a hospital once visited repeatedly

On a day much like today, when nothing

Hung in the balance or asked anything of us

Beyond the most complete and humbled attention.

Do you remember me?  Why should it?

I only watched as it was carried away, its veins

Leaking from the bag I had bundled them up in

When I dug them back out of the ground.

I gave the whole tree away to someone

Who promised to take care of it through winter

And flood.  And someone must have heard

My thoughts as I stood there and begged it

To remember, because she came and stood with me,

And we looked at each other and admitted,

At least with our eyes, that this was more

Than could be asked of a tree.  The briefest glance 

And then I had the impression again I was standing

Alone and it was true.  She had gone.

A wind came up through the leaves of the tree

Which had grown crooked because no one had bound it

When it was still young.  Silver. 

I should like to have

Such silver in reserve for border crossings to come.

Silver of the type it does no one good to hoard.

One only remembers it to give it away.

Through the Landing Window


Now while I wouldn’t be saying

This if it weren’t the truth,

The truth sometimes hides little

Gems in its blouse and only shows 

Them when there is nothing left to lose.

The sparks reveal a tiny room

Under the desk.  It has a beautiful

Look to it but one could never

Touch it without totally destroying 

The illusion that the edge was

So close, so full of the dreams of others.

We forget quickly.

Others use our thoughts,

The capital of dreams,

The song of gifting becomes

Extreme, so full of what we imagine.



I was wondering

And the carnivals of the heart

Began manifesting through the screen

Door, inches from what was becoming 


I couldn’t remember much

About you any longer.  I could see

You in that tiny kitchen making

Something for dinner.  I was looking

Out the window of our third-floor

Apartment under the eaves and

Knowing there really wasn’t any room

Here for love to find much

To grow on.  I knew how to eat fear.

I walked down all three flights

Of stairs with the garbage and everything 

Was perfect, like I thought your

Eyes were, but I was wrong.

The garbage bags were more real

Than anything except, maybe, looking

Out the window into the rain,

Knowing the river was only a few blocks

Away, and at that moment I was still

King of a world, and that I still loved you.

The Apartment Before the Rain


They glow blue and white,

Pianos of the sea enchanted.

As when we momentarily forget

What her name was or what his name was.

If it was before or after.

Who told us we were here in the first place?

I’ve never been able to dance like this,

Have you?  It is like a souvenir of a fountain

We knew when we remembered loving something 

Together on a particular

Day, in a particular afternoon, before we even knew 

Each other’s names.  And now look at this heap.

I have forgotten.  A missed holiday?  We were

Laughing about something we both enjoyed.

It may have been the air when you opened the window 

In the living room, into the snow storm, for just a minute 

Before everyone came in for dinner and, oh yes, 

I was so captivated by your eyes, and that we both

Could speak about the season, and you were poetry

For a few hours.  I recall reading to you.  You told

Me not to stop.  It has been decades now. 

I have never stopped.

Where the Turtles Live


To hear the voice tell us stories.

The heart went questing with true

Love and its page, Ardent Desire.

To know this is true, as true

As clouds lifting against the 

Horizon, building higher than ideas.

Oh please tell us the truth.

Tell us about Mister Death

And his lovely dances full of leaps,

Full of daring and challenges.

The color of the sky at twilight.

When we wait at night for the

Lights to quit and make soft

Cloaks around our thoughts

So we may sleep.  Children,

Families, lovers and deer feeding

Beside streams full of moonlight.

Let us stand here together.

I will hold you to me and kiss

Your lips.  I will tell you and you

Will tell me.  We will be able to see

The silver of enchanted light through

The trees.  We will agree that our lives

Shall always have this sheen about them.

Far to the North, just before the snows

Begin to own everything for months

At a time, we hear the voices again.


Today’s LittleNip:

The only art form that's worth a damn is when a man tries to offer up something out of himself, out of his own head, his own emotions, his own dreams, his own heart, his own guts—the rest is vomit-smeared cardboard; one dimensional; a made-up fraud.

—Kenneth Patchen (courtesy of D.R. Wagner/Meg Pokrass)


Many thanks to D.R. Wagner for providing us with such a fine repast this morning!

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