BOUND BY A DREAMING
Ramon brought the book with the outside
In it to the twilight chamber this evening.
We had not seen the book in many years.
It is kept with the night library in the cliff tower.
When it is opened, it shows the places
Around our far islands as if they were real.
The waves crash, the birds fly, smoke rises
From the villages, animals run in the streets.
The glow produced by the book fills the room
With a light so soft it seems made of the light
Sails dream-ships hold to the wind when they speak
To us in our hearts at the gates of the twilight
Beyond the woods of Ichy where we stole rods.
I began one of the old songs as we watched
The enchantment of magical places begin
To occupy our blood once again. It was a balm
That made the images seem more than alive.
“Our conversations this night must not include
Anything that will advise the others that we are here.
Tonight we are as cats in the changing of the world.”
We are bound to the book by dreaming. It is brought
That we may find our ways across unknown lands,
The wild and the hostile. We are warriors of the light.
With the book we can see the deep pools in the river.
Ramon kept us at the book for most of the night.
Then, he took a handful of pebbles and threw
Them with great force at a small bush just outside
The glow. A beautiful music came from the bush.
Then a woman in white came forth and toward us.
Ramon bowed to her and handed her the book
Which she closed and she went ‘round the bush
Faster and faster until all was a blur.
“We know enough now to continue,” Ramon said.
We felt well-armed and guarded by an unknown
Presence when we left for the islands in the morning.
THE HUNGERING BOX
Near the end of the story
We could see that here was fire
On the mountains. The air itself
Was a gray-blue shroud tossed
Over our heads, a demon,
A full-rigged ship of clouds and smoke.
We struggled to complete the story
Before it was too late. I was not brave.
I could see my shadow on the ground.
It too looks like smoke. I thought of killing
Myself but I could not leave my shadow
Here alone. The waters began to overtake
Me. I would not wait for the end of the story.
The whole story is dripping with blood,
A mythology canonized by yesterdays,
Hints of nothingness, whispered over
And over again without end. Only
The fire persists as the ashes fall
From the sky, as the ocean too
Becomes a gray mask, its own oblivion.
THE BEAUTIFUL SOUND OF
A THOUSAND MILES
Leaning over the abyss,
Part of some divine wind,
A kamikazi, the voice
Lifting above the Grand
Canyon, the brink of Niagara
Falls. For a second or two,
A clear moment of understanding.
An ability to watch the suicide,
Exiting the body and confronting
The emptiness as it careens
Into a view of a race car
Disappearing from sight
As one stands on that edge.
Then a silver-blue oblivion.
What can we talk about
While we dance? Would
You prefer that we make love?
Or will a nice neckrub suffice?
Over here, it feels like the
Screws are being removed
One by by, placed in a pan,
Until one can see the mechanism
That makes it all work. Each lovely
I open the curtain too early
In the morning. The entire sky
Filled to capacity with swirling
Stars, galaxies in a billion colors,
You whispering in my ear
Just before I find sleep.
I AWAKE IN A RED ROOM
I awake in a red room.
It is packed to the walls
With Schumann’s Opus 15.*
I could not stop crying.
My mouth was still very sore.
I had nothing left to remember.
I could see the drawers
Where it was all kept.
I could see my friends looking
Through the drawers, but was unable
To make a sound, except, maybe,
That of a field of crickets
Under a full moon.
When I broke, I swore
I would never write another poem.
This is the one after that promise.
I will look for something to put
Me back to sleep that does
Not include your face, your hands,
Your eyes, your smile, anything about you.
A flight of fighter jets begins to perform
Acrobatics just above my bed.
*Scenes From Childhood
The sun finds silly places to look
For things, across a cat’s fur
While it walks across the gravel
Just as evening is repairing itself
For its show.
It got mixed up with the garden.
I look down on it from my second-
Story window and watch it move
In and out of trees, showing secret
Places in them for a few precious
This evening the breeze
Will have nothing
To do with anything.
It has found something to do
“Later,” it says, “When it starts to get dark,
Just before the moon comes up.”
Maybe, but it usually lies
About important things like this.
WORDS CAUGHT ON PAPER
Take, take the light,
Who blows out the stars
At night? Give you dreamlines,
Give you footsteps, give you
The voices walking in things.
Stand at the top, where the wind
Jumps and hops, where the nerves
Crackle and pop, where the bells
Mop the morning, then they stop.
Stars hiding in the trees while it rains.
Natural objects tempting the language
To behave in ways we have not seen.
The voices of insects becoming angel songs.
I’ve waited a long time to be here with you
Like this. I feel your eyes upon my vestigial
Scribbling as I try to speak to you across
A body barely holding on to the paper.
A FEAR OF SLEEPING
for d.a. levy
Thousands of lights begin to discover us.
We had been hidden for nearly a week.
These lights were of the forest, not of man.
I begged for the original silence, no space,
No time. I asked that oblivion protect us,
That all of history invent other than ourselves.
There are fireflies who remind me of particular
Persons I know. I do not speak their names.
They are as singular as silences. No longer
Confused by oblivion, they are as real as dreams
Carrying a dagger into the rooms of sleeping.
Shadows of tigers appear on the walls.
They have come for the hurricane,
To trap the horizon where we cannot see it,
That they may approach us in blue and vermillion.
They own our consciousness like nightmares.
On the other side of this, there is morning.
Even as we are discovered, it is dressing
Itself before the mirror in a shower of birdsong.
We will wait to be kissed by morning.
We will stare uselessly from within this dream.
We will hear the breathing of the tigers.
A great wind labors to push us onward.
We strive to be near nothingness,
Hoping to be senseless in the gold of illusion.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
Our thanks to D.R. Wagner today for soldiering on in the cause of poetry despite his difficult recovery from surgery. By the way, his new book, Love Poems, is now available from Cold River Press (www.coldriverpress.org).
Also available from Cold River Press is Wendy Patrice Williams’ new book, In Chaparral: Life on the Georgetown Divide, 74pp, soft cover, perfect-bound, $14.95, free shipping within contiguous United States. For shipping outside of United States, contact them before ordering.
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