Saturday, June 18, 2016

Half-Understood Truths

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

2:30 AM

The bees are awake.
This is not a dream.
The night is thick with June.
Their libraries of flowers are open
Even as the winds are still this night.
I listen to them through these walls.

They explain the moonlight
As something so simple as exclamation.
It is like our own breathing.
They dance directions in the moonlight

As I take your tongue
Into my mouth and listen
To the directions from your heart.

An owl passes our window,
Almost a sacrament on the night.

Our chests fill with the language
Of the bees.  We hum with
Greater peace than the world
Has ever known.

You move your arms around me.
They have become perfect wings.



A tiny room filled with weapons
Used for art.  A certain
Cadence one can carry into
The street.  It will glitter.
It will even have a shadow
And will carry a memory for you
That will allow you to explain
Why you are here, on this street,
At this hour, wearing these clothes.

It might be even just enough
To keep the police from shooting
You to death because they may
Recognize a vague mirror.
Something they
Can recognize, a fountain,
A particular sunset.  The sound
Of one of their children
Crying from a tiny room,
Somewhere in the future, behind this
Mask of words and half-understood

 Gardens, Locke, CA


Already the poem no longer belongs to me.
Its road of miracles shows wondrous horses
Shining with brilliance even in the darkest of nights.

My voice shakes above the words.
It is no longer witness
To the weather, or the moon,
Or this silent scratching upon
Whatever beach this is, catching
Waves like tears, voices
Heard only in sleep.

Still, I can see you.
Even without time collected
Around you.  You are more
Than breath to me now.

We are as intimate as lovers
In a carriage, in an unknown city,
Plying the streets all of the night.

The clatter of our horses hard
Against the cobblestones as we
Make love to one another, again and again.

Street lights flashing past, falling
On our naked flesh.



I do not tire of the lights
Coming on in the villages as evening
Prepares itself for its song.

The cello explains this as well.
As does the river with its
Flickering water.

Summer is within me.   My thoughts
Are longer than these evenings.
Even the shadows are confused.
They can hardly find their way
Through the curtains.

I have a song for this breeze
But sorrow has come to find me
Before I can begin to sing.

The passing day.

 Student Artwork


A perfume rises from our bed.
We are young again and will
Never grow old.  We know
All about what happens
With time and its chalices.

We can soothe just by looking
At clouds.  Our thighs
Are wild in excitement,
Turning around each other,
Easy as mists through the canyons.

I move my hands over your hair,
Your face, your body, green
As June and full as July.

There is a clear water
Upon which we can walk
Without drowning.  We can
Never drown.

We make love into the Autumn,
Becoming more beautiful
As the days grow shorter
And bright with maple leaves.

 Student Artwork, 2


The night is bottomless.
I pull myself to my feet,
Drink a little whiskey.  My body
Starts to tell me another tale
Of its tribulations, but I am
Listening to Celtic harp music
And carry starlight above the
Dance of the bass.  I bow to
The night.  I bow to my body.
I bow to this music.

The music says, finish the whiskey.



The moon waxes
Toward the end of June.

I am unable to lift
My pen to write the poem.
Time has let me see
The future slipping, away, away.

I have no idea what
It will bring.  No one
Else speaks of it.

 Shadow, Me in Garden


No place.  No time.  The sea
Is a sea of gates.  We walk
Through them, amazed that
We have bodies.

A little room entered
Through a round gate.
There are one thousand
Candles burning just beyond it.

I slip through
A blue gate, in the night
And find my way to your
Bed in the dark.
Your body opens to me
Like a gate.

A gate made of fire
Opens to a gate made
Of ice, to a gate made
Of clear winds, to a gate
Made of love.  All open
With whispered kisses.

 Grapes Before Sunset, Locke

                            —Oscar Milosz

The songs had washed up
On the beaches as in
Childhood dreams.

Some were still humming,
Vested in seaweed,
Insomnias of so many
Dark houses, so many
Bits of memory.

A rattling of keys.
Broken staffs.
One can barely hear
The sound of one’s own
Footsteps.  The singers,
Servants of the song, have
All disappeared.

Wipe your tears.
Dance a waltz on the sand.
In a little while it will all
Sound like waves and rain,
Rain upon the ocean.

 Mike and Eva West, Bolinas, CA


It has been twilight for so long that
The birds have abandoned the sky
And mutter their small songs
Like question marks carved in water.

At times I hate to think
That this is all dreaming.
But it is soft and drowsy,
A kind of story within which
The sound of a fly landing
On an apple can be heard
Behind the golden rhythm
Of voices heavy with even more
Stories sliding toward eternity.

We decide maybe it is a harp
That sounds this way and runs
Its tongue across the music
The frog chorus makes.

The soothing of great anguish,
When we begged favors of this moment.

The entire earth
Seeming to be
Our very own breathing.

 Across the Garden


They told me there was a crystal bird
Who would come to me when
I slept and drape its lovely wing
Over my body so I did not have
To sleep alone.

And it would say, “Peace.  Peace.”
And cities would rise from the mist.

It is the habit of night
To behave this way.
It stands on its flight of stairs
And allows us to know
That morning is somewhere
In the obscure gardens
Within which we sleep.

Even now a breeze comes
Like a beating heart.

Oh sleep a little, it urges.
It is midsummer now.
You may rest with the sound
Of the fountains and the many
Songs of the air.

These words carry them there.
They gather on the sill of our dreaming.

You are no longer alone.
You are no longer alone.


Today’s LittleNip:

—D.R. Wagner

Tears are never old.
They fall into the sea
And are no longer tears.
Still they fill the sea.


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

 Paper Carving, Cars
(Anonymous Photo)

Celebrate poetry today by heading up to Placerville 
for the Poetic License read-around from 2-4pm, then
down to Sac. for the Tomcats (Tom Hedt and Tom Goff  
at Sacramento Voices, 4:30pm. Tonight, it’s 
a rare opportunity to hear the After Hours Crew 
for one night only: Todd Cirillo
Bill Gainer, and Julie Valin in Grass Valley 
(see this nice article about them in The Union at Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box 
at the right) for info about these and other 
upcoming readings in our area.

And do note that the second half of the  
CLA publishing workshop is this coming Monday 
at 11:30am, this one on the legalside of self-publishing. 
for info and to reg.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.