Saturday, December 05, 2015

Common Dreaming

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


When we lived along the edge

Of the sea we used to heat our homes

With a certain oil that burned

With a particular clear green flame.

As children, we thought this oil

Came from the fish that were

Our livelihood.  Alejandro said

That the green was caused by the 

Fact that a type of fish caught here

Shared a common dreaming.

They dreamed they did not live in the seas but

Instead swam through the oaks and 

Firs that surrounded our village, and

Because the entire fish was pressed

For this oil, their brains gave

Up the green that was the color

Of the dreamt leaves.  Maria Xavier said no,

It was only the food they fed upon

That graced the oil this way.

As we grew, we found out that

The oil did not come from fish

At all, but rather from a sacred

Well on the cliffs above the sea.

This well had a peculiar

Property to it.  It was impossible

To pump the oil out.  It had

To be withdrawn by placing one’s

Mouth to the ground of the well and sucking

The fluid from the

Earth.  We were the fish,

Our mouths pressed to the breast

Of the earth, our life breath

Drawing up this oil with fish

Mouths and exhaling emerald

Flames that warmed all the 

Winters of our youth.


I awoke, my hands

Covered with seeds

Of which I will never

Know the names.

Spangles of the unborn

Pecked upon by birds

So they might fly.

I will give you a baptism

Far beyond any fire

Knocked down from heaven

Into this crowded room.

I unwind all I know of silence

And it screams across a void.



The dark step leading

Toward the center of the flower.

They would be wings

But what would we know

Of it? 

I know ghosts

With more sense than

Any congregation of bones

And lips pronouncing forgiveness

For all those dizzying events

We would never, ever,

Have considered sins.


His room was stacked

Floor to ceiling with sunsets.

Each in is own separate box.

“I have them now,”

He said.

“A few were damaged

But many of them still

Have a lot of good

Quiet places.”

He usually left the door unlocked.

It was a smart thing to do.



I was stung awake.

I made a moon.

It has a peculiar shape.

It could be applied anywhere.

I could see the old lady

In the building across the way watching

As if I had a dog

On the other end of a 

Lead in my right hand.

I can’t speak this language.

Clouds drift across my

Self-made moon.



Thousands and more thousands of leaves

Against the base of the tree in November.

There has been no wind.

This county sleeps without

Fear for a few moments

Beneath stars burning so hot

There is no longer any idea

Of blood possible.

Here we have greenwood,

A host of sleep to console us.


Still, in the morning 

Crows wake us, knowing

More than a shaft of sunlight

Through a window can

Ever tell of what

May remain of drifts

In roadways and fields

Crowded with silences

As they are owned by perfect snow.

We are delivered by the sound

Of great horses

Snorting in their stalls.



Peeling shadows off the wall.

The morning draining through the curtains.

The grass slippery with a cold dew.

You took me out to show me

The three new colts.

“Pretty enough to be in a poem,”

You said.

Indeed they were.

And just look up there.


The clouds nodding agreement.



The sun keeps messing about

With the leaves of the oaks

Around the garden.  The trees

Flutter their leaves, birds preening.

I have left some of the sunflowers standing

In the garden to entertain the birds,

The field mice.  To let the winds tickle

The faces of the nodding flower heads.

Something simple, I tell myself.

The way rain keeps changing its name.

The sun becomes preoccupied

With some clouds and starts making

Promises that the day will get better,

Warmer.  The last marigold flowers using

Everything they have to keep from 

Becoming memories.  The shortened days

Competing to end the season.




The early December morning icy

Fog just lifting above the gardens.

The Summer has abandoned them

Completely.  Sun drizzles through 

With the oboe.  The breeze

Not really interested in anything

Except a few bamboo leaves 

High atop the timber bamboo.

The days will get colder and shorter

Despite what the flute is saying

Back to the piano who believes

Everything in its trills.

I don’t want to believe it has become

This late.  I will wait for the Presto

Where the horns have room to bounce

Above the staccato piano.  The last

Of the leaves off on their great journey.

Even the harp finds a place in the trees

For a moment, before a deer discovers

It has been seen and bounds through 

Broken cover of oaks through woodwinds

And bigger horns.  All that is left is a waltz.

The piano disappeared.  An encore.


Today’s LittleNip:

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.



—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's fine poems and pix!