Scene4-Internal Magazine of Arts and Culture
Woman with Red Ribbon | David Wiley | Scene4 Magazine - August 2017 |

Woman with Red Ribbon

The Art of David Wiley

Art and Text Selection:
Lissa Tyler Renaud

Voyages of Rediscovery


Is it not strange
how the hills
are shaped like pyramids
and how the smoke
from the cooking fires
of the village
is such an ancient smoke
so golden and rusty
at the same time?
from the top of El Tajin
I could see those cities
like kaleidoscopes at rest
colored with the histories of gods
their smoke too
was an ancient smoke
filled with the blood of the living
and the blood of the dead
curling overhead
like a question mark
in Veracruz
where worlds once collided
I learned certain secrets:
how to love
how to walk
how to cast a net
how to taste
the full flavor of sunrise
that I later lost this knowledge
is another story
the tale of a quest
how I came back
again and again
looking and looking
breathlessly everywhere
tied to a palm tree
while the wine and the sea
battered the longing
out of me
how I saw from the shadows
nailed to a chair
a vision of beauty unencumbered
and heard some music
from the African plains
adorned with a certain effervescence
I noticed a horse
naked and white
trotting through the streets
on his way to Mocambo
to change into a skeleton
on an island in the bay
I found no remains
no victims of sacrifice
no trace of those rituals
or the eleven Spanish mainsails
only a raft
eaten by crabs
and other members
of the zodiac
I started off
with a frond for an oar
straight into the jaws
of the fortress
where prisoners from London
sat in the dark
talking to their souls
and learning about the damp
while overhead
the sun baked bricks
I built a labyrinth
in the woods
and invented ways
to walk through its walls
I talked to sailors from Borneo
who carried strange artifacts
around their necks
I found places where bats
would be afraid to hide
and little parks
filled with magic
where anything
might be discovered
i met some pirates by the sea
"Su dinero o su vida"
they demanded
"No tengo ninguno dinero"
I replied
"y no vale nada me vida"
they laughed
and put away their knives
they offered me a ride in a boat
to some place down the coast
where pirates dwell in harmony
I abandoned all the usual things
food and shelter
clothing and the company of others
I wandered rudderless
through places only dreamers know
places inappropriate for honeymooners
or people seeking pleasure
I was the only human
on the Earth
a planet no one understood
but me
and then I stopped one night
looking at the stars
and there I was forever
another constellation
fixed in space
found by a fire sculptor
on the beach
I was carried away
to a house made of doors
where sitting in a small oasis
presided over
by the head of a doll
by the timeless aromas
of timeless food
the sounds of hands at work
and voices asking me
to tell my story
I learned a new set of secrets:
how to love
how to walk
how to cast a net
how to taste
the full flavor of sunrise.

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Scene4 Magazine - David Wiley |

David Wiley, painter-poet, exhibits throughout
California and abroad. A book about his work,
The Poetry of Color, is in progress.
To inquire about David Wiley's paintings, click here.
For more of his paintings, poetry and articles, check the

©2017 David Wiley
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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