Dreams of Wheels and Lights


Dreams of Wheels and Lights

Bells clang in the night. The lamp post belted
by mist offers little comfort. A stone’s
toss away junipers curved like melted
spoons shudder silently. There are no phones
in this place. A thought sneaks into your mind
quietly, like a straw piercing the oak’s
armor in a bad wind. You turn and grind
the thought with your heel. A wheel rolls by, spokes
flashing like scythes. Crouching by a puddle
a man studies his face. He looks at you
and cries: “All I want is to be subtle.”
You think you know him, but you’re not sure who
he used to be. You throw a rock and shout
at him. The wheel slows and the light burns out.

Originally published in Amelia, in 1985. I remember writing it, but it still puzzles me.


28 thoughts on “Dreams of Wheels and Lights

  1. Over time I’ve learned what I thought I already knew — the enjoyment of poetry isn’t about decoding some “meaning” that we assign to the symbols in the poem. Poetry is inherently about the SOUNDS of words and the way those sounds work and play together to create FEELINGS. A GREAT poem can do this even if it is written in a language we do not speak or understand. I first began to get a handle on this through hearing recordings of Dylan Thomas reading his own poetry. Much of what he spoke had no meaning at all for me, but…oh…how those unknown sounds made me vibrate inside!

    Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is, for me, another case in point. Read “Jabberwocky” aloud and see if you agree!


    As for your poetry, Bob, I almost NEVER understand it but I ALWAYS love the SOUNDS and images you put together! *** 🙂 ***

    Last argument: The sounds and colors and movements of the wheels and lights of the carnival midway MEAN nothing. But they have the power to make us FEEL. In fact, all this jabberwocky has made me FEEL like a nap.

    Later, Bob!


    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this one. I love the combination of overwhelming noise, brightness, and life, and the sense of intense, barren solidarity that that brings, for me, at least. I don’t know if that’s the intended effect, but it works for me.

    —Lola Elvy

    Liked by 1 person

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