After the Storm
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA
THE SENSIBLE EMPTINESS
The place was described to us
By the blind. A thoroughfare
Of winds named by the Ancient Greeks.
We were given wings to aid our understanding.
Rooms filled with guitar music.
Signals from our nerve endings.
We were gathered for a Pentecost.
A bridge to Pentecost.
A kind of still sound found
Its way away from us and back
To the edge of the river at the base
Of the holy mountain. The water
Was white and a marvelous green.
Its voice was huge and there was
No bridge. We began the dreaming
As there was no other way to return home.
The shapes of the clouds changed
And eventually devoured us.
We could see the fields from
The tops of the clouds. The yaks
Remained quiet the entire time.
We knew the songs of reassurance.
No one would notice us here.
This place was quite easily found
But to be still for such a long
Time was beyond even the waiting
Of the snow leopard.
Two days later I walked the streets
Of Kathmandu. Our herd was well
And we had over twelve new calves.
Our clothing had turned a steel gray.
We had enough firewood to stay
For a week near the highland herds.
Just to keep the night open,
Two or three of us played guitars.
We were filled with the gift
Of many tongues. So I speak
To you now and you will understand.
A WAY OF NAMING
Breaking through the magic until
There was only you, alone, in
Your own room again.
Butterflies from the carts in
Your closet where you kept the dreams.
I see them there, their moon
Shadows, the listeners in the perfect
Stillness of the late Spring night.
We were not supposed to come here.
While I was holding you, kissing your
Lips, your breasts, the pearly rooms
Of your thighs, I came to know this
Meaning; could see it attached
To language all the way back to Sappho.
The breeze mumbling incredibly ancient
Stories quickly, as if we were late
Arriving. The wine had been poured.
The music already making its own
Locke China Imports
The boards creak, but they know my names.
I can sit up in the line of light
That lies between the hall and the bedroom.
There is a charm about being lost here,
Like a saxophone being played in a darkened room.
Handling pearls as if they were smiles,
I can see veils lift and resettle
As the heater moves back and forth in the room.
The boards know the heater as if it were
A fox and they behold it as I do;
A wild heart unfolding beneath me,
Begging me to walk down stairs I can
Barely see. I unfold as if I were
Pure breath, wind upon rocks,
The sound of the sea coming in
Through the window at two A.M.
I am unable to tell this story.
You probably know it anyway.
Remember that Summer night when you looked
Out of the window and it wasn’t your back
Yard any longer? You had never been there
Before. You were sure the creaking of the floor
Boards had woken you up,
That they had something important to say.
IN THE WAY: NOTHING
Torn by understanding not quite
Enough. Pound’s Cantos could
Be molded into particular bullets
Not used to kill but to trick
A meaning out of a dark thicket,
A hell, the lope of a battle
Horse long without a rider,
Finding its way back into a twilight
Hardly anyone believed in anymore.
I’ve heard jazz tell fairy tales
And enjoyed that there were no words
To explain the wee folk
Seen from time to time again on
Obscure hills deep in the memory
Of the long dead.
“My grandfather saw them dancing.”
“That was probably Duke Ellington, my dear.
He loves you madly.”
A blank state over a cup of tea.
The landscape squealing an ensemble so fine
One hopes it might never end.
All of the objects in the mirrors
Have grown old. Bouquets of bones
Are heaped upon the tables,
Gathered from what used to be
Distant universes. All are
Without names. They do not
Wish to be remembered
As having a destiny.
They will not meet your eyes.
They will never know a genius,
A mouth upon salty skin,
A lifting of hips toward a lover.
They echo, longing for a kind of hunger
No longer useful for anything but
A soft and translated poetry. Fingernails
Traced across a nipple or
The swelling of a sex rising
With the breath.
Mirrors do not breathe.
I run my tongue across the glass.
I will myself to forget your name too.
SO IT IS
There will be nothing but words
And I will be dreaming once again
And you will be my love and
Nothing will come true but
Magic and music and poetry.
I shouldn’t have to tell you how I got
Around in the late evening and waited
For the rooms to arrive.
It is so beautiful here, the fire,
The music filling the corners of this room.
The tiny heater moving the air against
The silk scarf tied to the floor lamp.
The entire house collecting stillness
Around itself being as important
As it might be, lacking any substance
So, tonight I will miss the warmth
Of your body against mine. I will
Visualize the far hills, knowing you are
Riding them. I will imagine a deeper quiet
Just so it is.
ALL OBJECTS ARE NOTHING
All objects are nothing
But what we attach to them.
The poet boat has slipped its mooring.
The dream so close to touching morning
It has skin that moves
Over the body like a lover.
A brilliant green line that
Has to become the horizon
No matter what else happens.
The late evening light so like your voice
At the time of the sky departing.
—Medusa, thanking D.R. Wagner for today’s fine poems and pix, and grateful that he is feeling better these days than in the recent past.
Today is the final day of Poetry Month, 2016.
Celebrate by going to
Senior Readers Speak
at 2pm, featuring Dr. Chaka Muhammed at
GOS” Art Gallery Studio, 1825 Del Paso Blvd. (Ste. 2),
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