February 2023


Untitled 05


The Art of David Wiley


Celebrations in Sutro Park


In the days of the Dazzling Vision

in the days of the rainbow-bodied arhat

in the days of Gerenuk

and his many vows

never to sleep again

sometimes the circus

was really in town


as if the skyline of Xanadu

borne upon clouds from the Orient

had made a visit to the City

and decided to stay there

hovering over the bay

where we could examine at leisure

its towers its caves its minarets


as if Hera herself had come

with her cow

her peacock and her lion

and ordered us to make sacrifices:

twenty draughts of wind to Dionysus

fifty dragon's teeth in the form of turnips

planted in the ground for Cadmus

a marathon dance

naked under the full moon

a round of clapping

for the seals on the rock

who might be the children of Poseidon

a choral response

to the cries of ecstasy

rising up from Winterland:


And the blood of the goat

and the blood of the plum

given freely to Europa


as if we were satyrs and nymphs

hiding amount the rocks

behind the ferns and bamboo stands

flickering through the forest

between the shadows and light

climbing and swinging

running and burrowing everywhere

like the entire menagerie

that we knew we were hair flowing

nails growing

the music of the earth and stars

heating though our veins

as if by accident of Nature

we had discovered a way

to bring history and legend alive

and let them perform for us

while we sat and laughed

and sometimes applauded:

"There goes old Sigismondo Malatesta

plotting his own torture. Cheers!"


"There is the wedding of Jason and Medea.

Good luck, you two!"

"Hooray Vercingetorix!

Moping on his dolmen."

"Eureka!  Thales.  You are right.

Everything is water."


as if mud were rocks

and rocks were flowers

flowers the sun

and the sun was something

we could sit and stare at

for the first time in our lives


as if the fruit we ate

would become a universe within us

and we could explore it

light year by light year

with our packs on our backs

and maybe a walking stick

for comfort


as if the traffic down below

the concrete and machinery

were insects

ants and tics

lurching along

on the body electric

and all those playthings

and that hubbub

could easily be swept into the sea

and forgotten forever


as if for once

the music was music

nothing else

and the garrulous nasturtiums

that lined our pathways

were revelers at a Mardi Gras

and all the devils

that carry us along

on our routines

like a colony of parasites

had failed to wake:

or more

the metromegalomaniacropolis

rising collectively to brush its teeth

no more identification crds

(we know who we are are)

no more vacuum cleaners

busily sucking up the remnants of souls

no more sirens whistles buzzers

and clockwork signals

to tell us

to start stop wait

or run for our lives

no more newspaper reality

no factory sandwiches

no more handcuffs

in the middle of the night

for escapist dreaming

and keeping the wrong baking soda

in the back of the cupboard

no more electronic paper giants

waiting patiently to eat our minds

and spit out the last few

indigestible thoughts

no more numbers over the doorway

no more photographs of dirty socks

no more….


knowing that the beautiful

is as useful

as the useful

knowing that God

did not create the universe

in order to provide a job

for Himself

we have come to this place to find the world

in a snail track

or a pine cone

and eternity

in the wink of an eye


as if the miles of living

we have wrapped around ourselves

might make a play

with smells and music

on a stage where every color

knows itself

the blueness of the sky

the greenness of the leaves

the whiteness of the crashing wars

and every voice tells us what it is

the barking seals

the chirping birds

the girl singing her poetry

the explosion of water

upon the rocks


as if we had known

the birth and death of the sun

the histories of planets

come and gone

the laughter that reaches

to the edge of the cosmos

the impossible closeness of bodies

hearts twined like a rope

reaching to the moon

the absence of gravity

the million colors of a single hair

as if it were all

there was nothing more

as if everything

that had ever happened

happened here

and so it was

and so it did.

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Art and Poetry Selection
Lissa Tyler Renaud

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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 non-fiction.
To inquire about his paintings, click here.
For more of his paintings, poetry and writings, check the Archives.

©2023 David Wiley
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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