Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Dreams of Angels

Roman Child, Cleveland Art Museum
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


I keep thinking I am not dreaming.
That I just can’t get it right.
The person writing has committed
Himself to writing this poem
But it is a foolish endeavor.

The floor feels queer beneath his feet.
It is already much too late to be
Early evening any longer and he has
Barely awakened, or so he thinks.

There are people waiting in the next
Room for him to come out
To greet them, to thank them
For their screens, their fragments
Of sparks and bits of conversation.
They feel they have served him
Well and deserve some kind of reward.

He has decided he will stop
At the earliest opportunity
So that he might be inarticulate,
So he will not recognize at all
When sleep comes out of
Its room and stops making sounds
That he associates with darkness.

He refuses to be interested in any
Thing he might be writing.  That this
Way he can listen to anything that might
Trigger a recognition he hadn’t
Anticipated.  A quiet stream,
Some steam escaping from a radiator.

In the next room he can hear
The people begin to applaud.
He is much too tired to get up
And go see what is happening there.

He supposes it is just a dream,
Rolls on his side, lets his eyelids
Shut down one world, open another.



Kenny saw them riding down.
Down to the edges of the paper town.
And their horses, red and blue
And calico, like ghosts they flew.

Come lie beside me in this meadow.
We will listen to the gulls complain,
Hear the slap of the waves against
The shingle, chart the clouds as if they
Were tales of the heart.

A broken noise comes out of the air.
A kind of angel song that sings
In the mind as if about to make love.

There is no longer the sea near us.
We make love in the dreams of angels.


That can’t last forever, not a
Bloody chance.  Smoke rises from
The forest over against the hills.

Soon it will be death’s turn again.
We watch the birds wheel
In the vacant air.

Tiny spots of blood begin to appear
On our clothing, on our naked bodies.



There were great cracks in the rock.
Some of them were coming down
Out of the darkness.  It was
Difficult to keep from bumping
Into them.  Most of them
Have forgotten how to smile.

That’s the wind, said Burnham.
No, it isn’t, Jeb replied.
It is the room that
Makes the sound reach
Into Burnham’s throat.  There wasn’t
Much breath left.  I eased
His body to the floor and collected
As many of the young women as
I was able.

They can, at least, sing, Ramon,
I said.
Ramon smiled.  Teach them
The songs.
Teach them the talismans.

 Drifting Cloud


The light beginning to crackle and glow
Around the buildings on the horizon.
In traveling through this place
We have no idea why such a phenomena
Should occur.  It’s rather like a
Small child being born and immediately
Becoming recognized as a great king.
What are the chances of such a thing?

The evening scoots down the low hills
As if it were another child, on a slide,
Being called to dinner just as he
Finally gains his spot at the top.
What to do?  Come home now?

Sit down, press one’s legs into the
Sides of the slide and take as much
Time as possible to descend to the ground.
Everyone will understand somehow.

When we reach the bottom of the hill,
The entire landscape looks embossed;
A storybook cover one could run one’s
Hand over and still feel the real worth
The story has to hold.  No one has
Visited this place below the hill
For so long, we have forgotten the songs
That used to be sung about it.
We believe we are making up a new song.



Pretty boy, pretty boy
Sliding across the grace
Of the sloughs.
All made of tears.

I’ll break the night into little
Pieces.  I can’t fit the words
Into my mouth.

A couple of towns ago
I held the devil.  He tried
To kiss me, but I had kissed you.

That was a vast yesterday.
I was full of what God
Must have been feeling
A few moments after he realized
That it wasn’t all that good
And started over again.

We were left in the present
With one huge gift, water.
Everything else had to fend for itself.

Something tore at my throat.
Are you hungry?
Everything in this world tonight
Seems to be waiting for dreams
To revisit.  The waves repeat
Upon the shore.  We’ll show God
This can be a very beautiful place.

Take this whirlpool, for instance.
That is simply another universe
Only a few million light years away.
I’ll wait for you there with some new
Clothing so we will look good in the morning.



You return to me in dreams.
The sky is glass marbles.  When
You speak, lightning speeds
From your mouth.

Steam locomotives cough
Into life.  Steam surrounds
Your eyes, pours from your ears.

I am no longer able to find
Poetry.  Here is the heart of your
Son and your daughter.  There is
No poetry here.  Heaven is broken.

Let us dance together.  Drifting
Through this rain that feels so much
Like tears.  I’ll try to stop here
Before we are kissing each other.

I told you this was a dream.
Nothing is going to happen.
Nothing is going to change.
This is a window.  It is the joy
Of life.  I can see the shadows.

The dream returns.
The lightning continues.


Today’s LittleNip:


Love never goes away.
Love never goes away.
Spills over every edge.
Love never goes away.

Love never goes away.
Undoes the clothing
Time brings to the bed.
Love never goes away.

Love never goes away.
The morning.  The evening.
The sun too, a love song.
Love never goes away.

I have a handful of pebbles.
We are all waiting to be kissed.
Love never goes away.
There are arms in the mist
That hold us like this.
Love never goes away.

All these tears.  Love never
Goes away.  Room after room
Filled with love.  Dream opens
To dream.  Love never goes away.


Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s fine poems and photos! Dave Boles of Cold River Press has put together a lovely pre-publication package for D.R.’s new book,
Love Stories (110 pp, soft cover, perfect-bound, with five original illustrations by Cynthia Charters; special pre-sale price of $16.95), including a separate "tip-in" poem signed by D.R. Wagner and illustrated by Cynthia Charters, plus a FREE book form the Cold River Press catalog and, as always, FREE shipping included for the Continental States. Go to to take advantage of this offer.

And my apologies to Host Nancy González and to anyone who may have been inconvenienced by my mis-listing of the Mosaic of Voices reading yesterday as 2pm, rather than 7pm. What WAS I thinking???


—Medusa, whose wits are easily addled these days...

 Celebrate poetry today by going over to Sac. Poetry Center 
at 2pm for the "Asian Diaspora" featuring Jassi Bassi, 
Rhony Bhopla, Meera Klein, Heera Kulkarni, 
Yuyutsu Sharma. 25th & R Sts., Sac. Host: Penny Kline.
See for details.
(Yes, it really IS at 2pm today...)

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.