Saturday, December 24, 2016

Asking for Angels

—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA
(Visuals also thanks to D.R.)


The pink darkness has a perfect
Form.  No ash of dreaming
Clings to it, no dawn rules
It with whirlpools of relentless
Time.  Not one word rises
To describe it.  It is hidden
In the dresses sleep wears
When it comes to us across
The marshes our consciousness
Finds at the end of the day.

We have been out for weeks now.
The children of death had discovered
Our camps and swept into the spirits
Gathered there, driving our heroes
To madness and stealing their faces,
Giving them to wolves.  We huddled
Under a bone moon looking
For something, a light upon the water.
The sound of a divine wind,
A sigh that would signal deep sleep.

These things were denied us.
All seemed as rigid as old men
Staring at their hourglasses, barely able
To speak without being perturbed.

We knew what any destination
Would require and kept our hearts
Pure against the truths of these plagues.
We forgave ourselves.  We would have blue
And beautiful bodies.  We lit lamps
Against all darkness.  We searched
For the boundaries between our souls
And our bodies.

We have given all that we can give.
No one will speak to us of peace.
We try to find pleasure in seeking.
We asked for a few angels.

At the gates men played cards,
Betting souls against our breath.

This is all we have seen.
We thought this might be love
And happiness.  Tell us,
How will we know?



The horizon breeds dark
Families of thunderstorms.

Performances of the dead.
An architecture of dreams.
We hold our feet to it
In a space where we have
No need for feet.

A constant drip of water
Becomes mistaken for footsteps.
Other breath purchases rooms
In which we may be born
Or make love or hold the dying
In our arms, fascinated
By the wallpaper.

The passing fancy of our cities
Is dreamed by other than ourselves.
Fumbling through a labyrinth
We come to recognize as our lives,
But it is too late.
We no longer use our eyes to see.

These ghosts have memorized their lives.
Otherwise they could not live as ghosts.
Ghosts are required to remember,
To remain ghosts.  You can build
Them with your blood and a heart
That escapes the body, usually by accident.

There is a certainty of obliteration
That is discovered in the blood.
Ghosts need no blood but may
Keep it anyway, a hidden secret,
A place to store the memory
They open into our dreams or drive
Their horsemen before us, hunters
For our souls, tongues of fear
Rising from the swamps, the damp
Corridors between the rooms
We have found ourselves within.

Unsure if we are in their nightmare
Or the nightmare is fully within ourselves.

 Fantasy City


The error of imagination.
The collapse of the dream
Into a mountain of magic
Never to be understood
Or unwound.  A paddle
Lifted against fast-flowing
Water and sunlight bouncing
Over rapids.

It all happened so fast.
There was little time for
The reality to have purchase
At all.  One could have been given
The moon and it would only
Be worn as a pale disc
Around the neck,
Never to regain the sky

Tonight I was forced awake
At three AM by a sound
In my sleep inquiring as to
Direction and how far
Until morning.

As my mind cleared
I was handed a weapon.

“Go straight into the garden,
Past the mirror that seems
To reflect, but does not.

You will find a book there
Claiming to know how this began.”

Myths, all myths, older than the Chaldeans
Of Ur.  Giant tigers, mouths open,
Challenging every step toward understanding.

It may be better just to climb
Back into bed and fall back into sleep.
Perhaps we can forget our names
And gaze upon the broken timbers
Below the ruins of heaven.

 Rats Rowing (Ste-Genviève, MS 143, 14th c.)


I lined my pockets with pieces
Of clouds, but you don’t
Have to believe me about this.

I dwell in the twilight.
I have been known to hear
Voices that claim great things
From roses to sunsets.

I shuffle through time
Shoelaces undone, supposing
All this to be a dream.

What do I know?
I cannot tell a book
From a trap, a fish
From a memory.

I recognize the breezes.
They carry the smell of roses
This morning.  A nightmare
Stops its car beside me,
Offering me a ride to wherever
I may want to go.

 Luttrell Psalter, England, ca. 1325-1340


When is the night full?
When the moon rises?
When you lift my hand
To your lips?
When the crickets
Resume their songs?



A moment ago
I heard you sigh.
It is too dark to see
Your eyes.  This is what
Happens as night steals
Into our garden.

 Mice Under Violets


Use your lips
To talk to my skin.
Their shadows against
My whispered words.



The rain makes
Tiny rivers across
The marble table top.
Once again I believe
All dreams begin this way.

 Fire Elemental


Today’s LittleNip:

Outside the open window, the morning air is awash with angels.

—Richard Purdy


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for helping us usher in this Eve of Christmas with his fine poetry and visuals. We are all asking for angels, indeed!

Celebrate poetry! 
And check out the new issue of convergence 
with its Clown Band cover by Poet and Sacramento Poet 
Laureate Emeritus Viola Weinberg!

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.