Poems Given to Mia
Gary Dorman Wiggins
1 April 1976
I was your love.
I was a pool.
When you looked at me,
You saw only your reflection.
Your laughter destroyed the silent stillness of my love
As a schoolboy’s stone defiles the sleeping smoothness
Of a summer pool.
No more than shimmering ripples shall you now receive from me.
For still you try to touch me,
And you laugh,
And I disappear.
Your love for me was salt.
When I ran into your arms,
You ran into my wounds,
And I wept.
Only then were we as one.
Where shall you run?
Spring 1965; reworked, 8 April 1972
Even the least of the imperceptible exists.
Craven, the beast loves a vegetable abyss.
“What odor has a new-born breeze?”
Ask a garbage man.
A “NO SMOKING” sign sneered from the wall,
Reminding me of many bygone butts.
6 April 1967
If you think you’ve found a bedbug within your cockroach pie,
For such is the kingdom unleavened.
Life strings itself out in ells,
Not minute little measurements,
20 April 1967
Sitting, plundered in thought,
Trying to relegate my life,
Examining an ash of a pent-down emotion,
Contemplating a sole in my strife,
I try to FLY!
Shouldn’t we all have walls
Around the cemeteries of our hearts?
29 May 1967
6. ON INSIGNIFICANCE
They say the little toe won’t be around much longer.
It doesn’t serve much purpose anyway . . .
My little toe!
29 May 1967
Is it strange to value trivial things?
To sit beside you, share your thoughts—whispered puffs of air that caress my ear
As you lean toward me in youthful glee?
You, with your unattainability,
Have become my only goal in life.
I’ve fooled you many times. I hope it will last.
Absence of physical contact is compensated by that
Which past passionate embraces have seemed to lack.
Never have I kissed, believing I loved.
Never afterwards could I know.
Strange writhing mental contortion must have forced
This wretched abortion:
A match broken in two—one end flares,
Burns to the middle and dies.
The other remains completely unscorched.
Such have been all past affairs.
Perhaps love is an attempt at total deliverance—or possibly total combustion.
Nurtured by nothingness,
Growth is retarded, but not this.
It lives, grasping at the least significance.
I would seek, but never reap.
I would sow, but never know.
Revelation has such a beautiful finality
To one spawned in the banality
A heart attack befell a trumpet valve.
At the height of a CRESCENDO—abrupt dimuendo.
Silence, frantically seeking companionship,
Released its hold, overflowed,
Burst forth in the heart, complaining,
“I miss you.”
6 December 1967
I sit awaiting a simple call:
To love, to give—to someone.
With ever present fear, alone,
I count the cuckoo’s moanings.
The self cannot synthesize
The object of its desires.
She is, but not for me so simple,
Was, but not for me,
Shall be, but not . . .
Yea, though I walk through the Valley,
Shadow of death to fear.
Giver of life so near,
Make me whole.
Touch my soul.
Sum the separate scenes
To life, to love—to someone.
18 December 1967
11. A MODERN CHRISTMAS CAROL
Tomorrow to market rejoicing I’ll go.
No sorrow or sickness, just living so-so.
Reasoning twirls ‘bout an empty façade,
Floundering hopelessly, feeling my prod,
Awakens, stretches, and jumps out of bed
To linger no more.
Tomorrow to market rejoicing I’ll go.
29 December 1967 (written at Seabay and LE’s)
What a violent scene from my pent-up past,
Phlegm-specked misery spawned in the muck.
Shows no need for the barefooted lass:
Snatches her! Lashes her! FUCK!
See the why of it all.
Sail down the way
Like a lost leaf
In a landlocked lake . . .
Repell them! Repell them!
Play the “Die Game.”
Go down with cyanide fame!
Flashed on front pages,
Crucified in the rages,
Consecrated, desecrated, done . . .
5 January 1968
Drenched in the darkness of doubt,
I sought that calm reflection
That lighted once my world without,
Then hid ‘neath a mask of deception.
A drag on a cig revealed
The hand that clutched tonight
At some forgotten feeling
Gone from my touch so light.
As passion now subsides,
The temperature falls, the heater provides
That god-made truth without ashes,
That soft, sunkissed glow,
That leaps from the thermostat’s lashes,
That gropes toward the winter’s snow.
Though I paint my windows black,
Though you sink from out of sight,
Still it lunges back,
Seeking, bringing light!
7 February 1968
Think of the things you said, my love.
Never “love,” my love.
But “beautiful” could not be more appropriately linked
Than with that which we did not call love.
I have sought in wine, but found nothing,
Save that momentary warmth
That resides in a onedollarbottleplustax.
I have sought in oblivion, yet always awoke,
More convinced than before
That one cannot seek in nothingness.
When we least expect,
The hidden hope arises, sears, laughs, and is gone.
Go to familiar things.
They’re useful too, at times like this.
But remember, my love, at times like this,
Nothing is so known as uncertainty.
2 April 1968
What is this game we play, my friend?
We meet, share yawns, and depart,
Under the same canopy of deception
That covered and shall cover.
Is it not better . . .
But, no. My mistake.
A figment, so to speak,
Of an imagination too active
To be real.
I see in my world.
In yours, I hear:
Resounds from the very depths.
Nothing resounds from the heights—
Except in my world.
4 May 1968
Is there no happiness in this life?
Is it a place of empty blunders,
Of people trying to forget,
Then yielding to encumbrance?
There is perhaps nothing sadder
Than a caged Polar Bear:
Majestic surging white cloud,
Sinews stretched across cold grey walls,
Unyielding, even to the mighty sweep
That rules the barren wasteland.
I saw on the
The magnificent leap of a fleeing deer.
The first startled tremble,
The crashing of bushes:
Flight without wings.
Blending with the countryside
Stood on the next knoll
A doe and a fawn.
May the taxidermist’s hand never
Sink into sockets emptied by the sportsman’s lust
Glass eyes forever unseeing!
The car lights bored through the night
To reflect in their depths.
Fiery, unable to comprehend the intrusion
Of the Man-made-Sun.
18 June 1968
18. THE NIGHT WIND
For the wind whirls free, as it always does,
And the night noise creeps, with a stealth born of years
Toward the darkened window.
The night wind slips in noiselessly;
No shutters hinder him.
With ever-growing boldness,
He nears her face so dim.
E’en a withered leaf in his embrace
Would find that buoyant youthful grace
Of spring’s first buds ‘neath the caress
Of gently zephyr’s endless quest.
Now shuddering ‘fore April’s rains,
She sheds the bonds of wants repressed,
And sighing softly, scarce complains,
Relents, bursts forth in acquiescence.
And now that winter’s wailings come,
Her sleep may be a sound one.
But the wind whirls free, as it always does.
And the night noise creeps, with a stealth born of years,
From her darkened window.
31 October 1968
And this I call a souvenir,
My child who shall never be,
And I’ll view it again in another year,
Think secrets known only to me.
To me, my child, and your mother dear,
Whom you shall never see.
The one who knew this thing so queer
Would ever our secret be.
Yes, I’ll hold it close in a fond embrace,
Wash off with a stagnant tear
The dust that tries so hard to replace
The memory of yester-year.
Yes—tear—year, and all is now again.
The mirror can but reflect, my child,
What like you cannot remain.
So take my hand, for it’s time to go
To find what belonged to us.
For an ash is an ash, and we can’t save snow.
Why remember, my child? We must.
8 November 1968
Whom can I trust, my unfound friend?
Who’d look beyond my weathered fence,
Scarred by mourning tears,
To view the plots that lie within,
Guarded by haunting fears?
When the eyes so often saw
That someone with spade in hand
Ruthlessly wrecked the blossoming land of my heart,
What wonder then, my unfound friend,
That the graveyard’s scarcely tended?
For I too once hawked my “grave space.”
‘Twas greener then, and fairer.
None found in it a resting place;
My daisies died of despair.
And yet if you should come to me,
A rose now in your hand,
Though deaf ears listen, bright eyes see,
Bring with you garden plans.
Sometimes I feel such tenderness,
Think thoughts that seldom come.
Heart beating fast,
Blown to white heat
By the bellows of bated breath.
And you not even here.
As I think of our yesterday,
I see but one thing wrong:
The alarm’s crude stroke against the resounding gong
Forced eyes that longed to linger
On your sleeping face near mine
To gaze at empty space.
Then I know that it was not yesterday
You were with me,
And I yearn for our tomorrow.
Find my darkened corner.
It’s warm, and life is so cold alone.
Fear sneaks in, then,
Like a stone skimming the waves of despair,
It sinks without a trace
When you come through my door.
5 May 1970
There is a place in my heart
Shaped by years of searching.
A hand-tooled box
Made just for the gem that is you.
And all the Brinx guards who ever have lived
Couldn’t care for you as I do.
So plan well where you share
Deaf ears listen,
Bright eyes see.
For when grey dawn suffuses black nights,
And rosy-fingered lust blushes innocently,
What can we do, but succumb to the dust
That falls from our eyes?
Am I so small as to seem when shouting for grave space,
Not the least bit terrible?
Or do my shouts meet tympanis long insensitive
To the anguish of being alone?
25 February 1969; Spring 1970; 13 May 1970
23. THE ARTIST
Sits an old man painting a park scene,
Intent upon only for him what is real.
And he under eyes,
Recalling, rehearsing, remembering,
And he alone seeing it all.
Respect an old man’s follies.
After all, a hand shaking with age,
And eyes prisming blur . . .
Wonder that he even would try.
But look deeper: he sees it all.
Come nearer and strip away the nonsense,
The smears, the lines askew.
A faithful reproduction, nonetheless.
12 April 1971
When’s a lost love born again?
Not the same, and yet,
Her touch, her smile, and my blurring memory
Sum into one
All lost loves:
Rehearsals for this encounter.
Spring 1973 (The last poem)