Saturday, August 26, 2017


(Harvey at Corpus Christi)

Launched from the center
of the sweaty swayback
of the dustbowl
driving to the sea
Texas is endless; brown, olive, bone
hills and beige flats,
griddle hot

a country of dead hours
of creosote bush and yucca
city sprawl, void and suburb eternal
before the silvered rim of Padre
shows hazy in the wave-trough,
a glint in the dead eye of
the Body of Christ.

How many times did we
drag the corpus of our
cross-nailed marriage over the plains,
one desert passing over another,
with what relief to leave that
four-wheeled cell
and feel a living air.

Then, bottle in hand, already lost,
you'd sit in your folding chair on a beach
 so bright and primeval all
such things, like us, were anachronisms.
The boy would run from the war
to the waves, freed and blazing delight
to slip into a salty blue singing that

drowned the sound of failure.
I'd walk up and down, in
and out of the surf, gripping shells'
nacred lifelines, finding a washing of watery
peace, transitory and recurrent
as the sky-swallowing
shadows of gulls cawking above.

I had no god then, and none
yet I pray for that country
as the vast weeping Eye crawls across it 
with death and rage in its tears,
spilling blood or toy refineries
to soil and poison that white beach

where grace so waywardly hides 
giving her kiss to all flawed things.

~August 26, 2017

Optional Musical Accompaniment


Photos © joyannjones  Corpus, Gull Shadows, circa 1986


  1. This strikes close to home for me, too, having lived in San Antonio for six years, and of course having visited the gulf not far away. I love "griddle hot" and your apt descriptions of the Lone Star State, or at least sections of it. You have merged the personal with the larger picture here, and done so deftly. That ending made me get that feeling--the one that marvelously executed and affecting poetry brings. I am not at all sure that know the precise word for it, but it is half way between the downslide of a roller coaster, and the heart-wave of strong emotion at midnight.

  2. Oh Texas be glad that John draft dodger turn inn the commies Wayne was not a home grown cowboy; hurricanes may be more Desirous of your skin. Janis will sing the blues of paying dues away and then when the water leaks back to a warm sea--like the Alamo with a bit of restoration you'll still be Texas.

    "where grace so waywardly hides
    giving her kiss to all flawed things."

    where there are no flaws there is no need for grace "ma'am."

  3. The land is harsh, the people strong and true, blessings, I hope you are safe.

    1. Yes, thank you--we are many hundreds of miles north of Texas. It's a terrible scene down there right now.

  4. A horror whose scale is divine -- that's perhaps the only godly shadow found here. I'm so glad you took on Corpus Christi to the immensity of an already-dead Western Civilization, writ large, as everthang, in Texas. How could the divine couple, the married body, not become a clown posse out of such poisoned earth? The ennui here is storm sized, a Cat 4 sense of loss it takes a storm's landfall to hold in place, to name. I wish you would have linked it at Real Toads but maybe that's too public a viewing of this dead christ of a world. And yes, there is grace, to be exactly this and no more.

  5. Praying for all those suffering. Powerful tribute.

  6. I didn't comment on the first visit. maybe because it appears I no longer have command of words (if ever they were that, and not more in command of me.) (only a fool thinks he's in command.) (we live in the epoch of fools, don't we?)

    the final couple is a stunning encapsulation, and the entire write wastes not a single word. starkly beautiful ~

    1. Thanks M--especially for stopping by more than once. You know commenting is always optional. I misread 'age of fools' for age of trolls'--still very apt, especially where words and their commanded spewings by idiots are concerned.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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