Saturday, August 20, 2016


Phoenix Botanical Garden
—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA
—Photos by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento, CA


                    for Alice Anderson

The fields of eternity
Just beyond the bog.

Bring your breath along with you.
Your favorite one, the one you use
For love, dressed in the colors with
Which you sing the perfect song.

The moonlight knows the music,
While we teach ourselves the lyric.

Two golden ghosts made of
Sparkling lights, racing one
Another up the steepness of a roof.

The prizes that burned our mouth-tops.
The moon out, looking for us
Specifically, yet never making
A sound that could be our names.

How do we come to know what
These things are?  A distant

Golden teeth of the Ancient Greeks
Huddled over events.  Soulitone,
Feeling they have an importance in
Common with the twisting given by
Mute sky and a fevered
Dream of a drunken midsummer’s
Eve, populated entirely by fireflies.

Now, they are the same as sands
Upon the ever-moving shores.
Choirs of angels, writing madly
As night after night they throw
This writing to the earth.
Knives of the muses poking
Out of every heart.  The rivers,
The landscape, wine dark
With blood, year after year,
Garden after garden, ruined
By the same petty desires
That drive the oxen before
The starry plow.


Where can your mouth employ me
That is not speech but telling
Drifted into villages of time.

Its peasant gods claiming
Great dominion over such
That has no worth except
To the heart and its rampant
Roving for a true eternity
That blows here and back
And is a flurry of our hands
Too upon each other.

Hailed in thunderstorm and
A kind of worship understood
By those who build such language
With their bodies, hands in hair
And pulling like the tides
That charge over the wave tops
Lest we ever be done
With one another.


She spoke to me at night
And she was my voice and I was
Not her voice and our speech
Was of the hurricane, the sounds
The wasps make with their chewing.

The shaking of the windows high
In the house.  No one goes there

So I told her I was at her arm
And balls of blue and silver were
Her charms.  I lifted up the veil
And let the Autumn in.

I give you this room and you
Give me this room and it is not
The same room or the eye
Before the keyhole or a splash
Of sun in a dented cup with
Most of the water used up.

She called it luck.
I called it taking a corner
On two wheels with a loaded truck.

She said hold me like that again, sir.
And I said the same but used her name
And so we continued until morning came.


The dream was you again.
We were singing that old Neruda song,
That old Patchen song, that Edward Estin
Ditty.  It was all there.

The touch of your hand, like they said.
The smell of your hair.
The drift the moon had on everything.
The parts where the words disappeared
And the song would be forever singing,
There would be a perfection of you again.

We would wake up before God had the idea.
We would roll across the bed as big as the sky.
We are come out of the forest, across the meadow.
Every single thing would know the circus of the stars.
We would walk into all naming, and naming
Would be done.

I reach out and feel your shoulder.
This is part of a dream.  It was
Those poets talking with their songs
In their mouths and they were us and we,
Oh yes, oh yes, we were always ourselves.

 Phoenix Botanical Garden Pavilion


What made you think
It was a dream?
Did you open your eyes
Suddenly and the world
Seemed unreal?

* * *


Leave a moment to glance
Out the doorway.
The afternoon has returned
Without asking anything.

* * *


Sometimes just the shadow moves.
Every object in the room
Perfectly still.

* * *


One leaf touches another.
Asking a question?

* * *


In the Chinese garden
The bitter melon plant
Decides exactly what
Its fruit will look like.

* * *


All afternoon, not one bird
In the sky.  Then a house
Wren takes a short cut.

* * *


I’ll take a chance
I may never hear
Your voice again.

* * *


The meadowlark returns.
I am completely surprised.
Such singing.

 Rocklin, CA Sky


It’s just the sky,
You say.  The blue
Lifted above the green.
So much there, it wasn’t
Known for lifetime
After lifetime.

Why make a noise about it?
Homer saw the wine-dark sea.
We have no idea where the sky
Begins.  Where the sea ends.
Let us lift ourselves and fly.


Today’s LittleNip:

—D.R. Wagner

It is too hot to run
Across the top of the
Garden pool but the breeze
Does it anyway.

 D.R.'s Latest
—Cover Painting By Steven Kenny

Many thanks to D.R. Wagner for sending us today’s fine poetry, even as he recovers, and Cynthia Linville for sending us these sunny photos of Phoenix Botanical Garden. About “Soulitone”, D.R says, “It is a word I made up. I'm liking how it sounds and how it can mean.” His new collection,
Love Poems, is supposed to be released today (8/20); order it at It’s 110 pages, perfect-bound soft cover illustration by Steven Kenny (see above), five original illustrations from Cynthia Charters inside. $16.95, free shipping included for the Continental States.

Sac. Poetry Center’s journal,
Poetry Now, is now an online quarterly. The new edition (edited by Rhony Bhopla) may be seen at or check in at their new Facebook Page, Poetry Now. Lots of fun news, poetry and photography here, including upcoming events such as the Sacramento visit (Nov. 12) by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, with an opportunity to buy tickets, and the tribute to Annie Menebroker to be held Sunday, Aug. 28 at the California Stage in Sacramento from 5:30-8:30pm.



 My Inspiration
—New Poetry Now “Cover” Photo by Nanci Lee Woody

Celebrate poetry in our community and around the world! 
Sacramento Voices presents Carol Louise Moon and 
Wendy Williams at Sac. Poetry Center today, 4:30pm, or
 head up to Placerville for Poetry Off Main, with Kate Wells 
and Lara Gularte, 3pm. 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 note that more events may be added at the last minute.

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.