Saturday, December 03, 2016

Still Dreaming

Living Room with Afternoon Light
—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


Huge numbers, almost unimaginable
Except by the dreams of physicists.

The sun crashes into the end
Of the day, dragging its luggage
Back on itself.  The purple
Mountains that seem shining.

We can see, in crystalline visions,
The eyes of the Saint of Travelers.
We walk proudly into the fog
Banks, depositing, sitting, cutting
Our way to the head of the line.

There is the line itself waiting for us
To reach out and grasp it.
The casket of a mere bagatelle,
A clicking of the tongue against
The roof of the mouth.  We shout
Our way into our densest dark, blowing
Our deepest horns in warning.

Winter Light Over the Garden, Locke, CA


Running a finger across the edges
Of the teeth.  The tension in the migration
Meanings have when coupled to the imagination.

A gate closing.  A small inferno sounding
Against an ever-changing universe of stars,
Compasses and a scrawl of words almost
Lost when confronted with something important
To do.  An hour when little else could be expected
But language designed to transport enduring dreams
Against the air.  “I would like to ask you something.”

If the light is broken and if the paladin is but
A water clock, will you always ride with death?
Will your story always be that of speech
Such as this, all gold, all sunsets, all magic,
That cannot be undone, a ring inviolate.
Will we forever be strangers from each
Other’s blood and will our brothers and our sisters
Be only the fury of the waves, the rain, a failing
Sun, until there is no more?

And if this is so, may I ask to have,
At least, one dance with you, one waltz,
One final glance into the light, unblinking,
Dancing from house to house, still dreaming?

 Geisha at the Foot of the Falls, American Falls
Niagara Falls, NY
(petit pointe, 625 stitches/sq. in cotton/cotton canvas)


Walking beneath red and even
Blue Japanese lanterns that reflect
The light from the umbrellas
Back toward themselves and the morning,

It is too beautiful.  Somewhere
Near, a toad begins complaining about
The hour and keeps it up for awhile.

I don’t know why I should continue
To talk to you, except that the morning
Is chill but not too chill

And I have an ache in my foot
From having stepped on a piece
Of glass and the coffee hasn’t
Quite finished brewing yet.

The neighborhood is quiet.
The sound of cars is far enough
Away to sound like a waterfall
And the streets are still damp from
Last night’s rain.  And it is Autumn.

Just checking over that list now
Doesn’t bring me any closer
To finding a reason to keep talking
To you, but for now it will have
To do.  I wish you were here.

 American Falls From Goat Island
(petit pointe, 625 stitches/sq. in cotton/cotton canvas)


This is the one.
The operation where they take
your leg away and cast
it into the darkness.
This is the one.
The fishbone stuck in the throat.
The cyst as big as the moon.
The horrible lists in the back
of old books.
This is the one.
Your life memorized from the windows
of a bus.  Everyone practiced and obvious
around you.
This is the one.
The floor littered with eggs.
Glass in your bed.
The gene pools bubbling like hot springs.
This is the one.
The hands unable to clasp.
The father and mother undone in ecstasy.
The coronation of ambient dreams.
The visitation of hollow rooms to
the frontal lobes.
This is the one.
The one we have waited for.
The children in the flaming school bus.
The piles of animals on the roadside
and corners.  The houses searched.

Nights when no one whistles,
we hear the wings of birds
as they fly low overhead.
We are unable to look up.
Sound clanks down the roads.
Red voices and flames surround it.
We look at our funny clothes
and ask one another—
This is the one.
This is the one.

 Lion Dance, Locke, CA


Only the span of the hand raised
Against a late weather, the sun down,
Night knowing what it must do,
Drops of water are deflected as a ceremony.

The hand cannot stop the thunder.  Thunder
Clings to the outline of the fingers
Like the sea to the shoreline.

Every cranny delineated by the lightning,
The moment carries with it.  Still, thunder
Comes against it, forged perfectly
As jewels and ornaments, weapons and shields
Are forged.  So quickly,

Mercury bringing it,
Hephaestus smithing.  Two brothers
Against the hand for a moment and
Discontented with the silence of words
Inclines thunder toward the world
And explodes in meaning even before
We realize with what we are dealing.

 Broken Gate (Model)


They put all their pity in the mouth of the poor.
They said that your children aren’t there anymore.
They closed down the barroom.  They nailed up the door.
They don’t care about the parts that are sore.
They’ve sent all the blind ones outside to explore
And they can’t see the skin for the bleeding.

There’s been nothing quite like it, but they’ve said that before.
They’re hanging at doorways and laughing with whores.
They broke all the windows on all of the stores.
They made all the dancers lie down on the floor.
They said every apple is bad at the core
And they can’t see the sharks for the feeding.

They said, “Let it rain.  Oh hell, let it pour.”
They always have nothing.  They always want more.
They’ve injured the injured.  They ripped and they tore.
They ripen their hatred inside hearts that can’t roar.
The things that mean nothing are like clothes that they wore
And they can’t see the beasts they are breeding.

They dig holes in souls of the meek but they don’t know what for.
They crush dreams in machines and then eat up the gore.
They have legends of fire and pain is their lore.
They are shunned by the dying and cursed furthermore.
They hang banners from windows that show only locked doors
And they can’t see that everyone’s leaving.

    (use whenever needed)

Oh they’re ghosts, yes they’re ghosts
Who live always in fear.  They won’t take a body.
They want yours, yes, my dear.  They will wrack it
And wreck it and make you haul their gear and they
Wish only to make you their mirror.

Over the Gardens, Locke, CA


Lost in the waltz, the wind skirls briefly,
Opening the morning hours toward ten
O’clock and examining the branches of the trees
Almost as if it were inspecting every leaf.
The trees shutter and toss their crowns
Back and forth across what may be real
Music after all.

There have been the clouds, every day
For weeks now, mountains of them,
Never tired, constantly flying by, excited
By the air and how the sky holds them,
Letting them be free, but still, in its blue
Dream of atmosphere.

There was a chalice suspended
In the air tonight.  It glowed with
Silver light and the moon rose
Just above it and centered itself
Over the cup.  The animals dropped
To their knees and the barnyard
Was still for a time except for crickets
Singing to one another.  It was lovely
And had never happened before.

Now, wandering the hills in this moonlight,
I find myself at the base of an oak tree.
The grass in this place has been cropped
By sheep for one hundred years.

Except for the hiss and pop of the night
As it rises to the moonlight in an erotic
Dance, I can remember little except
For saying, “Hello hills.  Hello moon.
Hello trees and hello,” to this huge
Stillness as I press myself deep into
The earth, pretending I too am planted
Here, hard against this night, able only
To give praise, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah.”


Today’s LittleNip:


There were cellos in the room.
Many of them, leaning against the chairs.

A yellow Winter light had poured itself
Into the room, flooding it with longing.

Perhaps if he sat very quietly someone
Would return and the music would begin again.

A few house wrens made their ticking noise
Just outside the windows.  It was a tiny sound.

A tree branch rubbed against the glass,
Wind-driven, but somehow also musical.
This would have to be enough.


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s fine poetry (still dancing!) and photos.

 Celebrate poetry! 
And if you’re down SF-way today, drop in to Alley Cat Books 
to hear William O’Daly, Arturo Mantecón and musician 
Arturo Balderrama, with translations of Neruda, Francisco 
Ferrer Lerín, and Leopoldo María Panero, 7-9pm. 
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.