Saturday, January 09, 2016

Plumes of Dreams

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


A golden eagle dropping down

The veil after veil of the morning
Spies the precise moment that the snows 

Begin their perfection, untouched

By anyone.  Surely this is the first time

Such a thing has happened.

The tolling of an ephemeral bell

Calls goblins to such places.

At first, nothing but an image,

An echo, some sand, a single line

Etched upon what will be an engraving.

An ivory-bound mirror that reflects

Itself, becomes a bondage of fear 

Of something much too dark,

Accumulated by the endless effort

To bring the spark.

Last night I spilled the flax seeds

Throughout the house.  I could hear 

The goblins scurrying to pick up every 

Seed before the morning came.

They crash into everything all through

The night.  Then, this snow comes.

My soul clutches the covers, 

My skin hurts just to breathe within it.

And you tell me to sleep alone.

You tell me to sleep alone.


I did not recognize you when you came on the wind.
Slammed into my bedroom window moments after
The barn owls stopped their enquiries.  Bent
Out of shape by Winter, being so involved
With my thoughts this day, I only thought
I knew you, then realized that I did more than that.

The clouds were thick streamers mumbling with snow.
I kept myself against the night and looked for you again.
I used to think that you only arrived with the rain.
Here was a stronger hammer and what I had were raw
Nerves.  I could barely touch my own skin.  It felt applied
To my meat, not as a covering, but as an attack, fire ants
Designed to drive me away from your voice, the kind of words
You spoke to me, the way you spoke them.

I got on a bus in Niagara Falls, NY, and rode to California
To give testament to the light, and all weather was in my mouth,
In all my words.  I could not recognize words as more than thrums
Cut from the loom, and left when the cloth became a flock of jackdaws,
Color taken away from my eyes, and I cast myself into this high room,
Still thinking you would come to me and push my hand into my mouth,
Pulling what I had need to say from my lungs and naked mind.

I sat down in the haul of wind and heard the owls once again.
I can no longer discern your voice.  It is faith alone that says
I will have strength to wound the language as I do.  Certain
That it all shall become only a story told to a few others
As they clean the books from my shelves and wonder
Why I had so many things labeled as dreams and stuffed
Into notebooks upon which I had written my name, differently
Each time.


What are we going to find, my dear?
Have you noticed that none of us
Can sleep?

Sorry.  More bread?  A ha’penny
More then?

Ignorance and want.
Where have we walked in the door?
The dogs come against our legs.

I was that child.  These things can happen
In poetry.  Where else can clouds be pewter?
Are we merely vagrant campers with the moon
On a chain?  No maps.  We move against the door.
We can hear the wind riding.  It tears the words
Apart.  A few extra consonants have blown your way.

I have here a particular length of string.
I’ll pass it over to you, try to get some sleep,
Not worry that the rain clouds seem painted
On the sky this cold morning.


All the windows were open in her heart.
Rain dripping from its roof beams.
This is the most secret of hearts.
Rain through the windows endlessly

There are small, voiceless angels.
They flitter through as many rooms
As pain allows its stricken ghosts
To drag, moon after moon of spellbound
Memories through what once were the high
Fields of love.  These rooms are no more.

Spines flourish in the chambers of this heart,
But nothing else comes forth.  It gazes through
Sleep and sleep again, through plumes of dreams.

We can but stand outside, remarking how much
It resembles a cathedral, its great spaces rising
Through the rain, to a disguise of what once
Was either god or love or some deep longing
In between the two, seeking the foot of majesty.


Far into the clouds, leaning hard

On the mountain harsh and chipped

With rain, I felt the flood caught 

Against the granite and schist

Bellowing through the weather,

Loosing the limbs of the soul.

Finally, all tumbles through the 

Crags where great horned sheep

Have never heard a bell but lightning,

Are overwhelmed by such a falling

Of rock, that silence is removed.

Nature’s silk, the truth of rockfall

Slides into a tarn and the water is covered

For another ten of thousands of years.

Far below this crime of mountains

Discovering desire through falling,

Destroying all that lies before it,

The stone returns to such a silence

As there had never been, a sun or other

Beyond an eternal coolness over tons

Of rockfall.  A planet of silence deep

Within the mountain, stripped of all 

Identity except as marks upon a map,

A few words advising travelers to avoid

This place.  The ground unstable here.


The water here is thick and smells

Like Winter just as it loses its memory

And tries to move toward Spring,

Its sister, but even more insane,

His lover; again and again they find

The rush of water and the cool thickness

Of the snow, a brilliant connection that flows

Easily through every seed and breeds itself

Into the sullen needs of every day we call

Our own and walks within its halls pressing

Hard into each other to form the least communication.

I have found you here, far below the stair,

Crying for your mother with the same voice

The psalms have as they call upon the Lord

To find us here, huddled together and awaiting

A deep salvation, a rescue of which we are unable to speak,

A tower we are unable to climb, a sea we are unable

To swim ever again.  I will greet you here, my sister.

I will greet you here, my brother, and we shall manage

Our way home once again.  We will see the wild

Animals.  They will notice we are more mad than 

They could ever be.  That we too have a greater

Hunger than they could ever have, and they will

Let us be and let us pass and let us finally see

The place where sea meets land and those
Who claim to be like you and me show us

What and where we shall truly be.  Here in the 

Hours, in the minutes, in the years, unable to move 

Beyond our sparkling cages, yet able to understand,

To see what is is we are and what we truly may be.


Today’s LittleNip(s):

Inviting a goblin to cross your threshold was a recipe for disaster, and certainly worse than doing the same with a vampire. With the latter all you got was a nasty bite, but the company, the extraordinarily good sex and the funny stories more than made up for it—apparently.

—Jasper Fforde,
One of Our Thursdays is Missing


Looking out the window, Moist saw a small swarm of goblins leave the train and at first he thought, ha! Trust the buggers to run away, and then he mentally corrected himself: that was storybook thinking and with clearer eyesight and a bit of understanding he realized that the goblins were scrambling up to the delvers on the rocks and beating the shit out of them by diving into the multiple layers of dwarf clothing. The delvers discovered all too rapidly that trying to fight while a busy goblin was in your underwear was very bad for the concentration.

—Terry Pratchett,
Raising Steam


I hate goblins.

—Seth Tucker,
Winston & Baum and the Secret of the Stone Circle


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s fine poems and pix, and this note that “The only recorded way to rid one's house of goblins is to use flax seed.  Spread it throughout one's house and the goblin will be so busy trying to pick up every seed before dawn that he will become exhausted.  After a few days of this, they will give up and leave the house.”