Saturday, October 29, 2016

Horns Full of Starlight

D.R.'s Halloween Mask
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


Can’t look at the barn any longer.
Loves me.  Loves me not.  Loves me.
I’ve been having dreams I had to borrow
From others.  Must not have paid my bill.
The lights were getting dim.  I tripped
Over my own feet trying to see where
I was going.

There was a fire on the bridge.  So many
Were claiming to have started it, it was impossible
To determine who it may have been.
The barn was built very close to the bridge.
If it caught fire, it could burn for days, weeks.

We found the trumpets and began to flow.
Horns full of starlight and sparks from the fire.
Keep your heart well in hand.  We still have a lot
To walk through.  Pray you do not lose your memory.

 Sunflowers in Locke, CA


What makes you recognize the moment?
Did your dreams come true?
Do you have all the cards so you can see
The landscape?  Is this like reading
A broken promise?

This is your home town.  Can you
See any of the streets?  All these words
Bleeding out behind batons and tasers.
And even right now, the rain has started
To really pour down.  I can’t see the streets
Any longer.  My mouth is filled with ditch water
And blood.  Can you remember any of this at all?

Is this room always filled with such gems?
Can you feel the sun upon your back,
Moving across your hands as they make
Cat’s cradles.  We are brighter than all stones.
Don’t let this fade before we are able to dance.

It has been most of our lives since we have
Seen each other.  This is that song you never
Quite remembered.  The vibrato of the strings
Moves out across the evening.  The sound lifts
From the choir, exits the building and becomes
The night air.

Look down to your feet.  You can see the ruts
The wheels made when we came across the plains.
We no longer hold the hand of fear or the hand of
Loneliness.  There is a rolling peace easing
Itself across our bodies.  Let it hold us like this.
There is nothing more important than this moment.



Floating around the room
Waiting to be attached
To something substantial.
Something never said aloud.

Tears erupting from my eyes
Even as I speak to you.
I see myself seeing so many of you.
You do not know you are dreaming.

I sit on the seawall and sing
A special song to you.
The words wander from line
To line, forever searching for a way
To morning, but distracted
By mirrors or reflections
In the water.  Fish swim through
Here, shadows in the water. 



The madonna might appear anywhere
In the house before dawn.

There, for instance, upon the cliff edge
Populated by ghosts who can only
Echo the past.  The future
Is built without ever looking
At the foundations.  Even
Our hands, small, clean, just washed.

Sometimes we drag our players
Right into the nightmare.
We act as if we know
Who comes here, but we
Do not.  It is like the carving
The wind does to the canyons.
Grotesque shapes, some of them
With the ability to move,
Speak and make figures of all.

Lately people have begun to arm
Themselves with guns to defend
The edges of what one might endure.  

 Morning Glories in D.R.'s Back Yard


We’ve never seen them like this,
Coursing high above the stadiums
Crying loudly and enchanting
The landscape as if it were
Possible to raise hills and
Yes, even peaks into the early air
That would elicit cries of amazement
As the dawn trooped down the
Clouds and reached the earth
As sun, and hail and tossing
Clouds trying to describe snow
Or sleet as things not of the
Weather at all, but rather how
Love would look, splayed out
In the gray afternoon, expecting a lover.



The cities abandoned.  I saw you
Walking there long after the others
Had left.  It was as if a huge
Truth stretched out in front of you.

It glowed and had teeth, sparkling
Pointed and sure to find flesh
Before feeling.  Great winds
Filled with lightning moved
Throughout its body.

Could this be the same place
Where we had made love together?
Could this shower of glow discharging
Ether be the same feelings
That once were tender in our hearts?

Oh poor mankind, to be caught so far
From harbor on this night,
Slouched and desperate, far from
Arms that love you.
“Come home,” I said.
But none could hear angel music
In this place, save animals
And the pure of heart.




So we must return to tell
The others what it is we
Have seen or heard or tasted.

We could just stay "there" on
The bridges forever while the planets
Whirl and stars explode and the glory

That is our language flares and burns

Enough to light up any horizon.
“Maybe they will see it from
The other side and send us signals...”

It never happens.  We unhook
Our bolts and pull the seven
League boots from our feet,
Reach for a beverage, try to sit
If only for a verse or two,

To say, to tell the tale, to pull
Stones and bright bits of glass
From our pockets, singing songs
We have heard about these places.

Then, we get up and gaze from the doorway
Upon the night outside the house
And the mystery floods in again
And it is as if we have not
Been anywhere at all.  The best
We can do is tell what we’ve dreamt.


Today’s LittleNip:

Writing poetry is a state of free float.

—Margaret Atwood


Speaking of Pat Grizzell (see below), all these years, I've been announcing that Sacramento Poetry Day is October 24. Turns out it is October 26, a correction that was made by Poet Patrick Grizzell, who was there when it was proclaimed (I was not). For a wonderful article about the history of that day, see his post at Thanks for clearing this up, Pat! By the way, if you see errors on Medusa's Kitchen, please don't be shy about sending me corrections!

—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's wonderful poems and pix!

 Alice Anderson, Patrick Grizzell, Patrick Q. Minor
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

Celebrate poetry—and music—with your friends! 
And if you feel like a day trip, head on down to 
Modesto for a reading at the Stanislaus County 
 Library with Rosa Lane, Nina Lindsay, Stella Meratlis, 
Gillian Wegener reading from their 16 Rivers Press 
chapbooks, 2pm. Scroll down to the blue column 
(under the green column at the right) for info about 
this 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.