Saturday, May 06, 2017

Daughters of Longing, Dreamers of the Sea

Illustration by Maurice Sendak
Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA
—Visuals Provided by D.R. Wagner


This belongs to the night.
It has those lights about it.
It has that shape we love
That curls into our own body
As we lie abed, not sleeping
But remembering how sleep
Was and what kinds of gifts
It brought to us.

We are unable to speak,
Think ourselves still asleep,
Covered in the cream of darkness
That pulls on our legs, urges us
To dance if only for a moment.

We stand upon the water.
This must be the part of dreaming.
But we find we are water, we
Move through one another,
Scooped into an iridescence
That we can barely remember.
“Mommy, I was glowing.  Am
I still glowing?  I think I am.”

There is Saturday everywhere.
The morning leaks through the blinds,
Slides across the room and finds
Our eyes.  “Yes, you are still
Glowing.”  Right now, it’s the sun
On your skin, the soft, tiny hairs
On the body capture light for
Its moment and fill the morning
With smiles that will stay with us.
They are the daughters of longing.


Not finding terror or the right to speak,
I drained the streams from the mountains,
Found my mouth full of less than comfort.

Oh stand with me lovely one.  I would
Dwell in some madness where
I might learn to speak to you.

You teach me to hear in a different manner.
I rise, as temptation rises, and tell I wish
To kiss your mouth, but find a room of shades
Anxious to be undone by desire and tears
Collected from my longing and misunderstanding
Of what might be your intention toward my proper self.

What does one call love?  The rush of song
Across my lips?  I do not understand why
I am even forced to speak in this manner.

Even now, I wish to lie with you, hold
Your breast in my hands and improvise
A song neither of us has heard before.

You don’t have to believe me.
My body rolls through what it thinks
Might be love just to speak to you.

What might be true?  If you can hear this,
Send up a sign.  Touch me in a way
I can understand.  I will tune my instrument
So there may be no question
Of my intention in your regard.

 Just Outside My Front Door
—Photo by D.R. Wagner 


In the little story
The house could sing.
The trees had faces.
Their thoughts had wings.

They called them birds.
They kept them in their arms.
They played among the branches.
Their songs were magic charms.

In the little story,
The end of the day was long.
The twilight went forever
As it eased across the lawns.

There were dragons, any color.
They could be spoken to.
They were fierce, then tame, then magic.
You could watch them as they grew.

In the little story
With its adventures, plays and tales,
The wind would fill the sails,
Wandering the sea with whales,
Calling them by name.

They answered like an old friend.
They talked about the plains,
Places far from water,
Where they could remember names.

Like buffalo and Indian tribes,
Things they weren’t supposed to know.
In the little story, all that seems,
Was so, each thing, and real in time.

A moment, a year, a million years
Or more.  That is why we must repeat
It.  That is why the tales still grow.

So I’ll tell you not a thing more.
I’ll leave it for you to see,
And when you do, believe it
And come tell the rest to me.

 Little Red Riding Hood
—Anonymous Illustration 


Events of the death:
    A beam of light passing
    unhampered across its eyes,
    a suggestion of morning.
    A child tumbling through the emotions
    of his personal night saw fully the shape
    of the dream body unhinged,
    caught unexpectedly below its usual heavens.
    Partially crushed by the brutality of the encounter,
    it fell.
    The child, unafraid, watched
    the dream body congeal into form.
    The vague maps of its travel
    became bones, the rivers of its memory,
    fingers, toes and hair.  In the opening
    of an eye, the body, finally there,
    glistened and was seen for the first time.


    Autopsy scheduled.

The Autopsy:
    Birds filled the chest cavity;
    alive, eyes wide, still and cowering.
    From the lungs, sounds arose.
    Distant, as drums moving in a rhythm
    similar to the movements eyes
    make when approaching the truly beautiful.
    The brain, colored
    as the stars, revealed of itself
    great ships of memory.
    Doctors spoke with wonder
    of the row upon row of twinkling
    deck lights and wonderful music heard
    as vessels larger than the greatest
    ships passed above and through them.

Cause of death: unknown
    like cliffs overhanging the sea
    that speak only to poets.

 The Devil Eating Souls
—Anonymous Illustration


The night is beautiful
With its lips full
Upon the thighs of Summer.

It swirls the moon
Through clouds and spews
It high and bright and ‘round
The dome of its fine home.

Crickets, in their dark
Lovemaking, sing the praises
Of the grass and breezes,
A rhythmic transubstantiation
Played in scraping stridulation
To a counterpoint of August dark.

There, then and only then,
We take our breath out walking
On the milky paths of full moon
Shining and cast our glances deep
Into its lap of dreams, to hold
Just but a moment, for a moment
Only, all the crazy swirl of star
Light unto ourselves that we
May be this way before it.

 Bee by Kiny McCarrick


Water washing up small creeks from the river
Carrying the news about the fish dying.

Unable to breathe, we are assured that
The world has always been like this,
The problem won’t last.

Communication is endangered.  Soon
We will not be able to understand
Body language or the words that
Poets use to tell us about our poor selves.

The forests of the world are breaking apart.
It seems the trees are disappearing.
How could this be?  They were there
Yesterday, today they are gone away.
The surrounding area is full of animals.

Those are not the stars you are gazing
At tonight.  There are fires throughout
The universe.  We are spinning through
Space trying to encounter another life
Form.  What we are seeing is all other
Sites of intelligence burning down.

 Bee with Crown
—Painting by Steven Kenny


In the dead of the night.
In the room of the Northern
Light.  In the shop where the
Seasons learn their repairs.  In
The port where the ships that
Purport knowledge debark, arresting
Thought like a thief and dreaming
Like a lake.  We open up the doors.

Oh hear me sweet dreamers.  You
Who walk in Jerusalem.  We
are dancing, dancing, dancing.  You are
Watching as best you can.

Rip the curtains from the doorways.
Open up the rooms.  We are
The children of the moment.
You are prophets of the dream.


No one will believe you.
We cannot stay the course.
The horizon is sparkled with this vision.

We remove ourselves by horse.
Beyond rivers, we are the dreamers
Of the sea.  No one can ever
Recall us.  No one ever sets
Us free.  But we do remain
To remind you that all songs
Are bred to three, the trinity.  I will
Embrace your sweetest children.
They will belong to me.

Sing, sing, sing the bells they
Make to say, but there is never
Any difference, there is never
Any way that you may recognize
My hand here, that you may
Understand my plea.

When you wake up in the morning
You will never recognize it’s me.

—Photo by D.R. Wagner

Today’s LittleNip(s):

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

—Edgar Allan Poe

* * *

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?


* * *

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

—Marcel Proust


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s poetry and visuals!

 D.R. with no face
Celebrate poetry!

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