the hardest part of loving her desert is
knowing that it did not come
I chiseled out an ancient face
and hanged it in my head
though it was not quite alive as I
was waiting to be dead
we trudged together through a desert
smoked a fat cigar
nibbled on dirty tortoise shells
burned our feet on tar
it went like this for twenty years
or thirty, or probably more
long enough that desert sand
began dripping from my pores
and now my skin has turned to bone
and my pretty name is aging
my ancient face is chiseled out
my brain is disengaging
and though I’m not quite as alive
as I would like to be
I am grateful for my blistering walk
through the desert sea
it won’t be long
the Japanese death garden sings wildly
across the world
I whistle back, a soft. black tune
and lose my eyes to winter
I sleep with her on desperate nights,
her hard skin teaches me
I am a body of ache for men to pour their
pain into, she tells me how to behave.
I cry that I am to be a desert,
I am naked, on my way there.
She holds me quick, against her cold
and blows me into prayer,
I lay deep in hell, but I swear, God touches me here.
He reaches through me and pulls
out a song. He whispers, “it won’t be long”
then asks me, again, for prayer.
My eyes settle blue on boulders,
on the desert.
She doesn’t know I am here.
She doesn’t know how I watch her,
or how I crawl with
tortoise in patient crawl or
how I soar with her carnivorous
She is like woman,
all at once.
Her magic is dry and alive.
to hate is to love.
She acts like death
but her surface is in force.
Her dry stomach spreads thin.
Her hot mounds curve Earth.
Her treasured liquid leaks from
her spike covered fruit.
She is dangerous.
She does not fear exhausted corpse’.
She swallows inside out,
spits it out and keeps it
and when buzzards come
and when flies come
and when suns change course
she will suck dry
deep within her sand
in her desert forever.
The cold Earth is opening.
The desert is infected.
Starving cacti throb with hunger;
the land sweats poverty through
cracks in the street.
Ants are in a glass jar.
I gather them,
preach to them;
let them pray in the hot sun.
Then, I kneel as one of
and slaughter each with a slow dime.
Money is priceless.
So is time.
The desert is infected.
like butterfly milk,
like curdled cream.
I dreamed that we cannot dream past September.
Maybe God will explode then,
and all the stars
and all the planets
and all the moons
and all the science
and all the religion
will mix together in a giant tornado
and the desert will no longer be
I will no longer be.
Weeds are sleeping. High Noon. The Desert opens its dry mouth.
Legs wobble over loose gravel, barely stirring the lethargic,
The arid land has an asphalt tongue. I sit on it.
I melt to it.
A plastic shadow. Dried up. Destroyed
by the sun. Liquidated
by a watching light.
Red bugs have armor. Guardian’s of flight. Protection
from the land.
and teeth. I evaporate.
An old actor rocks on a blue porch. He doesn’t
know the desert like I do. Never has sunk in its smoldering
August sand or been whipped by flaming winds.
Protected by shadows that do not melt, shadows
that create the desert.
Whiskey in hand.
I evaporate. Into the weeds.