Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Special Punctuation

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


(a Celtic tale)

I have brought the first living thing

To this page and it well knows your name

And it can stand in your shoes

And show the dance that invents the land.

We stand upon floods bursting from

Our jubilation.

We’ve brought with us a silence

Upon your shoulders and a quiet

To your mind, be it only for Tydain

That we can sing such a song.

We have our secrets here in poetry.

This is as good as blood and bread.

You’ve joined the song.  Make it 

The first the world has heard

As we gained the height of the sun.

And here we are no longer imprisoners 

Of the light.



Your dogs hold your land together for you.

It is they who know where you live, not you.

A bark can sound like an angel voice; 

Their breathing holds the whole place together.

The silver of aspens in the late morning

Having their way with you.  You can listen to it writing

Each step of the trail, the half-moon

Just above the ridge in the full daylight.

A special punctuation your dog understands

So much better than you shall ever be able.

 Side of the Moon Café Gallery


A man with a silver rake shivered past me,

Barely holding his pink body, covered with leaves.

Spinning a private ballet to the music of too much

Rainwater and cascades of grey, bubbles and clicking rocks.

I try to join the chorus but he has escaped into mottled shadows

Before I can get my umbrella open enough to stop the rain from

Rattling my head.  I was told of ghosts here, but these are

Not ghosts, just quick choruses of splashes and rain falling

So hard even the rock stairway looks to be an illusion.

Soon I am wading up the staircase, calling just to hear 

A human voice above the torrent.  I’m glad I did not wear boots.
There is too much water of a sudden.  The trees explode in

Receiving it and I lose my own body.  I chose a direction

And decide to keep headed that way.  Within fifteen minutes

The sun is dazzling billions of fine raindrops as the storm 

Moves over the hill, trailing puffs of wind in its silvery train.

 Mowing the Chinese Demonstration Garden, Locke


In the suicide, you will be waiting

On the other side for yourself.

Again and again, able to recognize

The curve of your lip.  The perfect stillness

Of recognition, the taste of one’s

Own mouth in the kiss of greeting

Required no matter what the hour

Of the chosen death.

The extended tongue of hanging.

The shattered skull of a bullet.

The ozone in the burnt hairs of

The electrocuted body.

The slope of endless drugs

Shafting through the body, not knowing

What it is doing, staring once

Again into one’s own eyes.

Hoping there was another who would

Be the lover.

The flight of a single bird

Above the same ocean.

An unheard flap of wings.

The idea of trying to leave

Such a bad joke; the body

Vomits the suicide into

One small cup which must

Be drunk again and again

So great is the thirst.


                                   —Robert Duncan

I have no idea of my destination.

The waves the sea throws up against

My ivory house quiver and shake.

The waves continue to grow,
Push over the sills, spilling
Into the room.  And there is no
Sound but the sea lifting and crashing
Into these labyrinths.  Able to rise
Above its walls and dwarf whatever
Building the city had allowed
To be be built this far out in the
Tidal plain.  The water always rises.
No one could form
A question on any subject.

I’m calling you out.  It may look

Like sex from within these waves

But nothing can touch you quite this way.

This is how I speak from inside what

You currently call yourself.

My Front Yard


The serpent of form.

The spirit of form.

For I, at one time a madman,

Had learned to wait and now

Could hear the gathering of sounds

From far away as they came at me.

Closer, come to me, I say.

I have heard your voice

And the wave of the tides.

This is not imagination or a

Coincidence of place.  Open them.

I am silence here and can find a room

With its own spider.

Please, these are places filled with power

And had I word or claws or a circle

Of ice to tear this apart and

To take whatever form I will,

What would you call the color of power?

A sealed door, known only to doorkeepers?

I will make a sound in you as the first-

Time trees know wind.  And your body

Shall lie upon mine and the opening 

Shall appear.


 Corner by Kate's House


We have some rules around here.

I don’t own anything.  We have fluid

Halos and it doesn’t matter what

Sex you are.  Whatever we choose,

Someone will see it as betrayal.

A star tries to hide.

It only wants to hold you, but

As you can see, there is no place

This is possible.

Some of us watch our parents forget

Our names.  The mind dilates

And by chance you have found

A weapon inside a poem.

Go ahead, use it.

Misunderstand.  You can fondle

The words here without fear

That any of this is fake.  There are

Cities of this stuff right here.

Remove your shoes.  Get your legs

Involved.  Here, press this against yourself.

Feels better than anything you’ve ever

Owned, doesn’t it?


Today's LittleNip:

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.

—Robert Frost


Many thanks to D.R. Wagner for our fine breakfast of poems and pix this morning!


 Chinese Demonstration Garden Before Mowing