Saturday, October 21, 2017

Poems for the Season

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


A frightful symmetry
Seen through the leaves of night trees
Just as the moon clears their confines.

I will tell you that this is only your grief
Speaking and that you do not desire death.
You will attempt to argue through drunkenness
And you will leave, sleep dressed as madness
Wraps your brain and stops the parade.

Suddenly the moon cracks open the night,
Filling it with its delicious light.
It plays with our imagination.
“I am the moon," it says.  “I am the moon.”

Most things are without sense.
We make the most of what we have,
Drive ourselves to understand in broken
Cars, demanding the extra mile.

I hear you breathing, but it does not seem
To be a rest, rather, the trough of a wave,
The catching of the moon in a glass,
The surface of a great totally transformed.


            with a line by Melissa Studdard
Of course it was a great pile,

Battlements and turrets and half-

Turrets.  Collapsed staircases.

Hundreds of rooms, most of them quite small.

One could spread one’s arms and touch the nether

Walls.  Small windows allowed quicksilver light

Into the rooms.  All color faded.  “Have you 

Learned anything by being here?  A prayer perhaps?”

I saw a small lawn with rows of cages, each

With a cloud of a different color within.
“I keep these for the various seasons,”

The vampire had said in the same tone

With which he had explained the moats

Filled with stars in nets heaped far below

The water.  “These are from the temples,”

He had said, laughing softly to himself.

Occasionally he would explain

That he needed to touch me.

But I would hand him a rock

And he would be placated for awhile.

Turning it over and over in his hands,

Studying its shape as he held it 

At arms’ length.

“You have a most interesting spine,”
He announced to me as we climbed 

Toward the halls where he kept the whirlwinds.

“Yes,” I said, “it allows me to fly or sail if I must.”

He fumbled with his keys, trying

To find those that fit the dry, yet festered

Wood he used to build the doors to those rooms.

“It took me years to find the correct wood to keep
These things here.  They love black leaves,

You know,” he added, as he slid the bones

Of the bolts aside and we watched them
Flash in great rooms lit by constant lightning


“Will you always live here?” I asked.
“I come here to pray and to recall the taste
Of lips.  I have no time to think or eat properly
Or to rest.  I keep beehives around the castle.

The sound soothes me, as do the rooms 

With the great waterfalls.  Come, I will show

You these rooms.  Have you a taste for blood?”

 The Moon


As I crested the hill
I found the moon asleep
In a small hollow, nestled
Just below the tops of a grove
Of oak trees.  The moon was
To have been up an hour ago.
The light coming through the branches,
That quiet music the moon always makes.

Tonight your skin tasted like
Lime juice and orange blossoms.
I have moments like this where
Everything seems possible for an instant.

I wasn’t supposed to tell
You about the moon, but I had
To.  I thought maybe you would
Go there with me sometime.

I know the exact place it was
Resting.  I could hold you there.
We could pretend we have always
Known things like this.
We could sing a moon song.

 The Moon Over the Horseshoe or
Canadian Falls


Star poked me in the eye.

The coyotes heard it.

I could barely move.

Tiny lights reminded me

I was alone.

I think I am dead.
I died in a dream

With my mother
Talking to me.

And I laughed.
I laughed.

For I was alive.

I could feel myself cry out

And I knew my name

When they called.

And then we were

On the beach

Building sandcastles

And you remembered
My name.

And then they took
It all away from me.

The blank look

The waves have
As they touch my skin.

The lights in the town

Are charms.

They visit above the voices

Of the coyotes,

The questioning owls.

These are the voices
In my heart.

I trust you will tell no one.

 The Moon in Oakland


Heaven dare not look too long
When soft, my darling, says the moon,
The stars, the whirling balls of stone
That are the planets, to their sleep.
For soft is the song that rises, clouding
Those towers that are praising in those
Fell halls full of angel wings and dawn.

Heaven dare not keep the night long
From around her shoulders where she
Wears it like the cloak it is and
Brings it to our bed, still full of stars
And singing, such shining is herself.
I gaze upon that which angels fear
May tear them from the face of God,
Even for a moment, such is my darling
In her sweet good-nights before we sleep.


Today’s LittleNip:
There is nothing you
can see that is not a flower;
there is nothing you can think
that is not the moon.



Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s poems and photos, all of which were previously posted in Medusa’s Kitchen. (D.R. was feeling poorly on Friday and needed time to recuperate.)

Head on down to Sac. Poetry Center tonight, 7pm, for the release of
Strangeland by A.J. Thomas and Friends, hosted by Bill Gainer and Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 Celebrate Poetry!

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.