Saturday, August 02, 2014

Outlands of the Heart

Surface Prism
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke


The little palaces where the
Children stop to drink.

Gabrielle understands the
Splashing and noises of water
As language and tells us the stories
Water tells her as we sit along
The grasslands of the creek bank.

Annalesa knows the secret
Names of every cloud and can
Sing all the songs of the winds.

Many of us have seen dragons
In their far places.

The nameless rooms of sleep.

The great halls where dreams
Wind themselves into the long
Hair of the night.

Sylvan hollow where twilight assembles
Its cloak of whispered colors.

The feathered courts the birds maintain.

Highways in the air.
The curve of the seasons.

Symphonies of fish, garments
For the waters of the lakes and rivers,
Jewels of the streams and ponds,
Living within the body of water
As water lives within our bodies.



I will name it
After a person.
It will stab
Me in the heart.

She was a cloud
When she spoke.

Various is the night and cold.

Her legend was so large
It cracked along the edges,
Burst away from its telling
And flooded the space
As a burst water pipe might have
Done.  She loomed over our conversations
Recalling for us the presence of a bear
Discovered inside a car
As she begins to leave
The deepest of forests.   


They hauled the thrones
Out of the water.  They were
A curious green, adorned
With rampant dragons,
Great flying birds.

 Across from Mike's


It was here the hills gave up
Trying to be something other
Than lords of the high places.

They looked out over the valley
Then eased themselves with quick
Rolling undulations through meadows,
Hillocks and small woods to the valley floor.

But here, there was still a place.
Two springs ran parallel across the hilltop.
The oaks opened up for a view that tasted
Distance like a wind does the edge of Spring.

We stayed there for over an hour.
Blue distances, the voices of the streams,
The glaucous oak leaves making confetti
Of the sunlight.  We laid down here.

There was nothing we could not bring back
From this place that could make it more
Real than it had been.  We had lived there,
Made love there.  The place itself was ours.

Years later, I would be reminded of it,
Late at night, after drinking wine.  It
Came like an unannounced season,
Full of all that was ourselves.  I wanted
To tell you about it all over again, see
If you remembered, look for grass
Stains on your elbows, see the valley
Move across the margins of your eyes.



Which is stronger,
Glass or stone?
What reflects the morning?
Which is the highest wall?

Why have we come this way?
Time holds a delicate hand
Out to me and begins an intricate
Ritual that stretches far back
Into my own dry and irrevocable past.

I find myself on a high wall
Trying to become a reflection
Seen in the blade of a dagger.
The moments stumble on.
I hear their echo as one hears
Ashes collapse from a burning log.

Here, then, I will weave destiny.
But...I am here between the stars,
Between the shadows,
Between the twilit steps
That ease me to the cliff edge.
Comfort me that I shall be alright,
Show me pictures of my mother,
Tell me I have strength to carry on.

And I will hold these things
As one would a musical instrument,
Lift it close to my ear
And tune it to an inexhaustible chord.

 Duck Wood


You’ll call dark
And I’ll call thick.
And you’ll call any player.
But I will have the harp and flute
And you will have the sayer.

You will call the words away
And I will call them closer
And you will parry fire and storm
And I shall be the sorcerer.

I will find you on the white foam sea.
I’ll see you in the tides changing
And you will be the sailing ship
But I shall be the sailor.

And you will find the islands green
And I will find the red ones.
You will build a house of dreams
But I’m the one who treads ‘em.

Now gather at the shore tonight.
We will all join in the dancing
And we will bow to one and all
Then with the tide be leaving.

Here a handful of small bells
Are rung and I will pull back
The corner of your tent flap
And motion you to my side again
And no one will know from nothing.



Though fog into my heart has come to dwell
I do not care to die and look down the flights
Of stairs and drink the water from my cup,
Listen to my own voice and trust this shadow
Is my own.  But I cannot tell.  I cannot tell.
I expect it this very evening and not seeing
Anyone, plead that it is not far away and that
The one I see and wear is mine.

I play guitar to lose myself, only that I may find
Myself again inside the passageways of music
Where time is strict and rules those fires that fit
Themselves around my throat.  I do not care to die.

I call upon the rings of gold and wear them on my hands.
I trust the words of poets and their colors on the lands.
They do not guide but do appear to divine the moments'
Rush, then move to myth and epic as if in them are trust.

And I go to the West Indies as the place where I may wear
The cloak again as golden, as golden as your hair.
For the fog into my heart has come, though the path
I know it well, I do not care to die and so I’ll move myself
To dwell in raiments born of shadow and trust it is
My own as I walk down the stairs away from here
And come to dwell alone.

 Stuart and Kim in the Garden


I have gone far west.
West itself can go no farther.
I was of the seeking.

I had come of my roots sure enough.
I could sing the runes of all the islands
Green and stay over the sea.
Yet, I adhered to the ancient faith.
I have seen the white fever,
Heard the voice from the darkness,
Like a leaping thing that seeks
The outlands of the heart
As if it were played upon
A wild and cunning flute
To charm the blood of whomever
Chanced to hear these queer laments.

Like tide wrack that pounds
The ears when heard,
Like a green water voice heard
Far below the ice,
The sound of the cusp of dreaming
That pounds like the dusk of shadow
And fain refuses description.

This is for the hearing then.
When in the haven, I’ll be safe.
The words will be your remembering
In a certain hour of the day of the days.


Today's LittleNip:


you pin my night
dreams in yr hair
like small stars
that will never
know the taste
of what we call

The shine.  Oh love
how they shine.

Tripping softly
on the colors
in my mind
I find you
soft inside and
our loving
is Osiris in
his rising.

We are alone now
love, they have left
their buildings empty
and we are alone.

You go from me
in candied words
and I shall never
see you, come
morning, in the sad
buying cabbages
and bitter pears.


Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's ambrosia, and a note from him that people can buy my new book from Crisis Chronicles Press ( or Amazon. The release party, signing and music event is August 16 at 6:30pm at The Moon Cafe Gallery on Main St. in Locke. Also offered for the first time: signed, limited edition prints of my needlepoint images: $50 unframed, $100 matted and framed.


Sunset Palms