Cityscape with Night Sky | David Wiley | Scene4 Magazine | January 2020 | www.scene4.com

 Cityscape with Night Sky


The Art of David Wiley


Background & Foreground


I. Silver Screen with Black Stars


Once it was natural, just for the asking,

to be fed with cake that conquered mountains,

peaches of divine clarity, love apples

or anything that wasn’t obsessive—a fetish

that gummed up the music with its



But who could forget that first fall,

that moment in space alone without drumbeats,

devoid of right angles and meaningful colors,

the limb of the tree a thousand miles away

and everything in the universe up to no good?


At least once a day I was rescued by breath,

ineffable substance promising happiness,

a curious mixture of rocks and wind,

words and signs and all the things

that one could use to fashion devices

more useful than powerplants or folding chairs,

more beautiful than a garden of skyscrapers.


At least once a day I was failed by breath

and thereby learned of evil forces; measles,

rattlesnakes, tyranny and fear; I saw

the jumble of shattered auras in city streets

and tasted the bitterness of songs gone sour.


But even in the aftermath of broken dreams,

failed overtures and eclipses of the sun,

nothing could dissolve the steady flow of light

where angels might appear at any moment

singing like birds in the silver dawn.


II. Black Screen with Silver Stars


When the clouds changed and emptiness came,

furtively assimilating the field of play,

and swallowed my kites and aerial displays,

there was another kind of hunger then

that wasn’t part of any plan or preparation,

something made of silk, and laughter

in the dark.


Everything I saw I tried to touch,

even the rainbows in the drops of water

that glistened on my hand before falling

and lighted my room in the space of a blink.

It was only a gesture, like a flag,

having to do with purity or blood or whatever.


Here they are then, water, light and air,

and even the roar of engines eating fire

and belching the soul’s dead breath

can’t change them.

Make of love’s perfect moment

less than perfection, yes, and sicken

the purring creature within, yes,

and overcome the static with more static,

darken the day and poison the night, yes,

and grow a hundred odd appendages or more.



But still I can dwell on the Golden Mean

and tap my feet to the ocean’s last melody;

I can dance in the sky’s chamber of mysteries,

parting those dim veils one after another,

stepping over the loud and dull painted pieces,

marching through an organized wilderness,

curious about the show, the drama and ennui.


With the grace of memory

and the luck of forgetfulness

I can breathe as I go.


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Scene4 Magazine - David Wiley | www.scene4.com

David Wiley, painter-poet: graduate of U. Kansas; studied at Mexico City College and with artist Ignacio Belen in Barcelona. Widely traveled, he exhibits throughout California and abroad. Wiley has published two volumes of poetry: Designs for a Utopian Zoo (1992) and The Face of Creation (1996). Since 2005, Wiley has received large mural commissions in Arizona, Mexico and California. Wiley is a longtime contributor to Scene4 : paintings, poems, meditations on art, creative fiction and non-fiction. To inquire about his paintings, click here.
For more of his paintings, poetry and writings, check the

©2020 David Wiley
©2020 Publication Scene4 Magazine


Art and Poetry Selection:
Lissa Tyler Renaud



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