Saturday, February 18, 2012

Desert Trip


 Desert Trip



Dust for dinner
in the day end bitter and
nothing to drink but a glass of sand.
Bare souled and dry mouthed
plodding shredboot through hoop
after hoop of unrolling heat, horizon
radiant with mirage mirror lures to
push me from the path

cut through the fantasia of quince colored
coral curled cactus. Behind me a torn trail
of shed skins, miles of peeled naked 
shins fondled by creosote shanks
corkscrewed and toothy, my airs 
leaking from memory holes
spined through raw scars, burnt lashed,
blinking blue coals under swollen lids.

Ahead a whirl of drab dirt devils
dance down a blind mountain's ashes 
to the parched hellfloor where I am not going.
Pooling improbable greenery shines
lush O surely too much a skirt of
turquoise and lemon on a stone doll
to be so stubbornly alive, brushing
jade shadows where the new dwelling sits

with no guards, no guards at all
except the length of hardscrabble slope
pulling world worn flesh
step by ebbing step to the
moon's seat, the hidden well
that holds all I can drink
before darkness so
tenderly falls.




February 2012




Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub 

Brian is hosting today, and has brought on board the expressive photography of Reena Walkling to get the word pump primed and flowing. Come join us. 
Link in is live till midnight Sunday.




Image: Photograph by Reena Walkling  (c) 2012
Used with permission

34 comments:

  1. whew...i dont know that i would want to get trapped in the dessert you know...watched a movie about the guys that escaped a russian prison and they were crossing this dessert and its pretty grisly what happens as you dehydrate...and retain what water you have...and well i hope that they find the well...is all i am saying...smiles...really nice descriptions as well...so beautiful yet so deadly...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I adore the first three lines and it gets even better... the alliteration and vividness... beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The hellfloor where you are not going, though so many talking heads seem to be so sure that they know differently. I like your envisioned destination better, with no guards, just the moon's seat (I love that!), and some final comfort and satiation before oblivion takes over.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ooo yes I like! I like a lot! the alliteration bursts through here, especially in the second stanza, which is my favourite for the sheer magnitude of it - " quince coloured coral curled cactus." - brilliant rhyme plays throughout too - the whole thing is intense and the imagery perfectly reflects your title - the dryness of the dust for dinner, the sand, dirt, ash, and moon itself - certainly a trip! great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see you around OT--thanks for reading. I think you're the only one who caught the ref.

      Delete
  5. I have been in the desert - there is nothing like that nothingness to remind one of the essence of life. It's one of my favourite places to be, and these words brought it all back to me. You captured that essential need to let go of dross in the second stanza, which struck me most powerfully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the desert, too--it's one of the cleanest places on earth. Glad you enjoyed, Kerry.

      Delete
  6. I love your burst. So easy, and true and inviting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dry desert landscape it may be, but you have given us a lush wordfest of impressions. Lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  8. the moon seat with the hidden well gave me shivers..i was wondering if you refer to death in the with this...so tender and peaceful after the struggles and scorching sun of a life, lost in the desert..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yeah, been there too in the land of the damned -- or was that Montana, on a summer afternoon so dry and hot that one did not progress as pass through "hoop after hoop of unrolling heat"? (Perfect.) Yet as they say, when you're going through hell, don't stop, and I think it's later reflection only that sees the necessity of the passage and the well that was waiting at the far end, the inner one that was there all the time. Youth is wasted on the young as wealth is wasted on the rich ... Fine poem, Hedge ... Brendan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, B. Age is as stark as the Kalahari and as easy to get lost in, I think...but like a camel, I'm smelling that water out there somewhere.

      Delete
  10. The first stanza is the best I have read for a while - anywhere - and is probably not the best of the poem. I am going to have to read it a few more times before I can come to a balanced view, but just now I'm thinking that if I'd written it I'd probably have given up writing while I was ahead! (I'm not suggesting you should!) Hearty congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave. Always appreciate such kind words from a poet like yourself.

      Delete
  11. Wow...wonderful imagery & so much to get my tongue around.....great stuff! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. You come up with the most creative descriptions! I always know I'm in for a word-treat when I visit your blog.

    Love these lines especially:

    "nothing to drink but a glass of sand"

    "mirage mirror lures to
    push me from the path"

    "fantasia of quince colored
    coral curled cactus" ... this should be "cacti," though

    "shed skins, miles of peeled naked
    shins fondled by creosote shanks"

    "Pooling improbable greenery"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It *could* be cacti but I choose to think I'm speaking of an entire genus--also I had a hard time with whether I should say "a whirl...dances," or "dirt devils dance"--I know it should be the former but it sounded wrong. So I just broke the rules instead. ;-)Thanks for stopping by, shawna.

      Delete
  13. Powerfully written poem with such vivid images, you brought back memories of some of the shorter trips I've made in those magical Soutwestern deserts. It is a hardscrabble place and you evoke its harshness, but you also get to the heart of its magic. The journey you describe is probably personal, but it conjured other journeys made by others. At first, I thought you were describing the Jornada del Muerto, which was the first entrance into NM by Coronado. I also thought of Geronimo and his capture and imprisonment, since he was caught in southern NM. The guard post in your poem is abandoned, it seems, but your words brought this historical even to mind. Excellent poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My strongest memories of the desert are of the Big Bend area in south Texas, on the Rio Grande border with Mexico, but the NM deserts are equally vivid and to me, unspeakably beautiful places, despite the hardship they bring to soft creatures like humans. I think there is a personal Jornada del Muerto in here, perhaps, so you're not so far out. Thanks for the kind words, here and on twitter.

      Delete
  14. i was going to quote a line or two but there are so many i'd be quoting the entire poem. brilliant jump-off-the-page imagery, Joy! stunning!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow. In this poem, not only vivid original wonderfully rich lines, but I was struck, word by word, each one so perfectly penned. The first stanza reeled me in and, after that, it was just sheer marvel, all the way down.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I always have trouble finding your blog!
    So glad I saw this tweeted, bookmarking now.

    I agree, there is so much imagery jumping out at me... this is a wonderful ride.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A lovely beginning and close especially I thought. I am very admiring of your writing of landscape so dynamically. I liked this photo and thought of a poem, but I am terribly stuck in narrative and wasn't quite ready to go into that particular story. You have a gift of giving description itself a kind of narrative, without having to bring in characters. Not so easily done! K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, K. I'm a bit hung up on narrative too, I just hang more foofoos on it than you do. ;-) I have a terrible time with poetry that is all impressionistic and visual--I like a beginning, middle and end to sort it all out.

      Delete
  18. Beautiful descriptions- this was a feast for the eyes and the imagination. I always think of deserts as mysterious magical places- and your carefully linked and thoughtful wordplay bought that to life. 'a torn trail of shed skins' - the colour of quince - I could literally hear the crickets and the rattlesnakes. This was so skilfully done. Excellent poem

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you hear the rattlesnakes--remember move away veeerrrry slowly. Thanks for reading, Stu--enjoyed yours very much also.

      Delete
  19. i like some of your usage of language a lot

    Bare souled and dry mouthed
    plodding shredboot

    AND

    cut through the fantasia of quince colored
    coral curled cactus.

    AND

    Ahead a whirl of drab dirt devils
    dance down a blind mountain's ashes




    private dreamliner

    ReplyDelete
  20. And that is the desert, and truly much of nature, fearsome and awe-inspiring and breathe-stealing and poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You wove poetry out of the sand, hedgewitch.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You are a brilliant alliterator! Feeling the sand in the mouth, and the breathtaking last lines (but I'm a sucker for the moon)... shredboot! Language is such fun, isn't it. And you made us feel every step of that trek. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You have created such beautiful lines...almost tongue twisters...quince colored coral curled cactus. and such vivid descriptions of the desert...

    ReplyDelete
  24. fearsomely beautiful. I was mesmerized and determined NOT to walk this particular path! :)

    ReplyDelete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg