D.R. at The Book Collector in 2007. Photo by Alan Satow

D.R. Wagner

D.R. Wagner is the author of over 20 books and chapbooks of poetry and letters. He founded press : today : Niagara and Runcible Spoon (press) in the late 1960’s and produced over fifty magazines and chapbooks. His work is much published and has appeared in many translations. He is also a visual artist, producing miniature needle-made tapestries that have been exhibited internationally and are included in numerous publications, including this one. He is, further, a professional musician, working as a singer-songwriter and playing guitar and keyboards. He has taught Design at the University of California at Davis for almost twenty years. He resides in Sacramento, California.

In February, 2009, D.R. helped us launch our RATTLESNAKE REPRINTS by letting us reprint his The Dimensions of the Morning, which was first published by Tom Kryss and Black Rabbit Press in 1969. Click on Rattlesnake Reprints on our menu for more information.


Then, in April of 2011, D.R. helped us celebrate Rattlesnake Press’s seventh birthday by releasing his SpiralChap, A Limited Means of Expression - 80 pages of his wonderful poetry, all of which was originally posted on Medusa’s Kitchen.


D.R. Wagner Poems & Tapestry

Tapestry by D.R. Wagner - Click to enlarge

                         (for Tom Kryss)

In a small drawer about eight
Inches wide, two and one half
Inches high and about a foot deep.

The drawer is in a plain-looking
Chest of drawers in a back room.
It has a keyhole and can be locked.
It seldom is, however, as it is opened
With great regularity by anyone
Needing stars. Although the drawer
Is unmarked, it is not hidden in any
Way. Those who need stars can
Obtain them at any time.

Once I pulled the drawer almost
All the way out and just looked
Into it for a long time. The
Stars twinkled and glittered. They seemed To float in the blackness of the drawer.
It was very quiet in the room. I
Reached into the drawer and touched
Some stars. They were cool then hot,
Slippery feeling. I could hold many
Stars in my hand at one time without
Any effort. This was a long time ago.


We live in a spiral arm of a spinning
Field of stars, we whirl around, a carnival
Ride, full of birds, loves, emotions, endless
Varieties of things unfolding in seasons;
Full of bells and an endless weaving of hearts.

These connections ride upon our consciousness,
Demanding constant performance from us.
Each of us, most royal and majestic as night,
Vile, vindictive and spoiled even before we speak;
Sorrow and joy, the way we sound our name.

We endure all of this, our lips kissing each moment,
Crushed, elated, misunderstood, praised for things
We do as part of ourselves, damned for these same things.

There is no road, there is no plan. Only love Survives.

Everything is forgiven, finally.
Understanding limps behind the parade,
Always late, always burdened with qualifications,
Always abandoning every opinion and argument,
Leaving each of us our place only, describing
This place, the swirling arms, the myriad ways
We twist ourselves to achieve
This weaving, this carnival of love.











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