Saturday, October 08, 2016

A Morning of Ghosts

D.R. Wagner in Locke, September, 2016
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA
—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


The walls were old wood.
Very old, like ships dragged
From the oceans centuries
After they sank.

The way your voice cracks
Through the post-midnight
Air, thick with insect noises.
The gnawing at images
As soon as they are born.

“We’re making a terrible
Mistake, using dreams
Like this.  There is a reason
Sleep has them as kingdoms…”

Great birds hover over
Long dining tables.  All is disarray.
Reckless as Winter.
Their language and voices
Belong to ogres, creatures with too many
Teeth in their mouths.

Battalions of faces without bodies,
Straight from the bonfires.
We come back with maps
Showing no place we could
Ever get to.

We can meet in dreams.
There will be tournaments
Of dreams.  Come find us.


Forever leaving.  Forever pulling
At the door, closing it
Behind one, room after room.

There was singing in the last
Room.  There were people
Praying in the last room.
There was a war floating
Like a bubble, bumping
Into everything in the room.

Forever leaving.  Walking alone.
The edge of the sea
In the far distance.
A city in flames.
There, another door.
Leave, leave now.

The sun pushes through
The darks.  I see someone
I recognize.  It is morning.

A morning of ghosts opening
Another door.  I speak
Their name but they do not
Turn their heads.  They are
Talking about the coming
Rains.  The children running
On the gravel streets.
Their high-pitched squeals.

Forever leaving.

Your death in Autumn
Wasn’t true.  It was
The first week of August.
Tomatoes were everywhere red.
Hard squash, green beans still strong.

The change of birds had begun.
The crows were restless.
Hell wasn’t new at all.


Somewhere in there, my voice broke.
I could see the crows, low, above
The trees.  Autumn had caught them.
The Winter was only waiting to show
Them off against the snow.

I was not much for understanding.
There were places in the net,
Holes where one stopped caring
And fell to just inches
Above the waters.

The sound of ships’ horns.
The pulse of the tide toward neap
When nothing moved
On the water
Except the shadow
Of an albatross.

The crows moved toward the Easter sky,
Flying hard away from evening.

 Night Fountain


The lights were going on and off.
I could see your mouth moving.
The lights made your teeth look
Like cars sliding onto an exit ramp.

There was no sound.  So I may tell you
Whatever seemed perfect for that moment.
Don’t drain the batteries just to keep
The lights going.  Everyone knows they go.

There was a backdrop of images, all of Krishna
Except for tondos of tigers wrestling
That were left over from the music
We made with electronic references.

It was okay to say I love you
Once again.  The lighting was understated.
It was much too beautiful
To think you’d be walking away.

 Yin of Equinox Trees


The heart falling
Through ice crevices
In the center
Of the glacier.



Caught in a small rain
Long “before music
Had grown too proud
To be the garment
Of words,” I can hear
The night sounds
Fill my ears as I step
Outside into the rustling
Wind.  The blinking owl
On his high branch
Stares down at my
Mortal form below
And flaps aloft.

I thought he was a bird
Who told me everything.
I thought he was the herald
Of daybreak, but night
Is all around me, silver
With the late Autumn moon
Taking possession of the oak
Grove at the end of the garden.

The rain stops before the ground
Is even damp.  I go back inside.
The whole house is motionless.
I feel myself tenuous in my
Breathing, afraid to do it too
Deeply.  Trying to hold
This shadow as if it had
Any real substance.

Today’s LongerNip:



"I used to be able to remember my name,” he said.

There were things happening to my body that I did not
Understand.  If I had any courage, I'd kill myself,” he said.

I picked up the lantern and threw it toward him.
Icicles catch the moon.
The children become snowflakes.

“You are going to catch a cold if you keep talking like that,” I say.

He smiles.  "You think this is a dream
Or a bunch of weird photographs,

Don't you?" he says.

"Oh you impressionists, I say.
You think everything is about light.

Emptiness is not different from form.
Gone, gone, to the other shore gone,

Reach (go) enlightenment, accomplish."


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for this morning’s fine poems and Katy Brown for her also-fine pix! Note that Medusa's Facebook page has a new photo album from Katy, Autumn in the Foothills; see

—Anonymous Photo
 Celebrate poetry by going over to Davis for the second day 
of the Jazz and Beat Festival, or to Sac. Poetry Center's 
“Leaves from the Poet Tree” exhibition, archival works from 
SPC, beginning at 6pm. Or drive down to Manteca for the 
Great Valley Book Fest.  Scroll down to the blue column 
(under the green column at the right) for info about these 
and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note 
that more may be added at the last minute.

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.