c o n v e r g e n c e:
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EDITOR'S CHOICE: cynthia linville's

D.R. Wagner


By D.R. Wagner

We have for them and them for us.
How easy it is to unseat any color
Into something that is no longer aware of itself
Or of us as we hurry through the labyrinths
Time gives us for a chance to know
Error or to know truth.

We thank ourselves for the blue
Of the ocean and it is not us at all.
It is the conversations between memory
And things learned by the body,
Burns on the hands, inside the mouth.

Admonitions of ourselves unaware
Yet constantly striking poses that
We may learn to handle those impulses
Where we will have to dance
And be impeccably pristine about it all.

By D.R. Wagner

Lying on the ground. I was surprised
To see how much it looked like a mantis
Someone had stepped on by accident.
The elongated body parts, the almost
Transparent wings covered in a green
Sheath, now sticking out from under
The crushed cover. The legs splayed
And unnatural in their direction with
The exception of the praying legs
With their serrated edges, now neatly
Curled close to the thorax.

It was the head that most carried
This illusion. In its expression
And large eyes a huge question
Still there, maybe a surprise at
Suddenly finding itself broken,
Unable to move, unable to accomplish
For some reason that would never
Make sense, but would always be remembered.

Masks by Brent Wiggans

Masks by Brent Wiggans


By D.R. Wagner

I used to keep stars
In my pockets. I heard
That poets could do that
And not get burned.
They cannot.


By D.R. Wagner

I was having trouble standing
On the deck. Long arms of dull
Light reached out across the waves
And tilted toward me as if to say
Something. The sea birds became tongues.
The wind played harp and the old
Stories stole back into me.

I wasn't supposed to remember
These things. I could hear them
As if they were a freight train somewhere
In the night hurrying past carrying
Too much sorrow, too many stories
For any one person to know even
If they were never to own them.

This was not history. My skin dissolved.
My veins and arteries unwound and
Spread across the sky. My bones
Pushed my body apart. Soon I would
Become the night. The night completely.

Able to visit you in your dreams,
Tell you whatever I wanted. I
Could see thoughts gather like
Cumulus clouds and fill the salt
Air high above the cliffs.

Children were running along the cliff edge.
They were flying kites out over the water.
I could hear their laughter.
Everyday should be like this.

I steadied myself against the
Main mast and made my way
Back below decks. The light
Continued to glow. Your face
Seemed to lift from the dark
Of the crew quarters.

I would be surprised to see
Others here once again. I fell
Into my hammock. Soon the sea
Had me in thrall and I slept
A thousand years dreaming the whole while.

Some of these poems previously appeared on Medusa's Kitchen.

D.R. Wagner

D.R. Wagner

D.R. Wagner is the author of over thirty books and chapbooks. He co-wrote The Egyptian Stroboscope with d.a. levy and read with Jim Morrison of the Doors in a legendary performance with Michael McClure. He has also read with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and many, many other poets over the past 40 years. He founded press : today : niagara and later Runcible Spoon and produced over fifty magazines and chapbooks. He is also a visual artist, producing miniature needle-made tapestries that have been exhibited and published internationally. His work has appeared in numerous translations. He has exhibited visual poetry with William Burroughs and many others in venues ranging from the Louvre to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. He taught Design at the University of California at Davis from 1988 until 2015. He currently lives in Locke, CA, the Cultural Center of the Sacramento River Delta.

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