Monday, September 30, 2013

The North Wind

You wonder how long
it can go on--holes
in your legs that bleed,

muscles wasting, tremors,
the high execution
of spasms so great

they make you seize:
you go to another
world without light.

Strangers and ever those

you really know don't
understand the extent of it all—

Woke up this morning
to pain and blood
everywhere.  You can't

lie any more.
You wish you knew, that
they all knew

how you had to
rush home to stop
The bleeding

from the inguinal
femoral notch, finding
a great cyst & a fistula

tunneling deeply
into you inner thigh
Where bones meet,

infected.  You cannot
really walk but you
do anyway.  Hip

rotting, lymph nodes
large as small grapes.
No cancer yet.  Just fear

now, and the other
present demon,
who's worse, far meaner—

He plants in your
body an unbelievable
chemical that turns

muscles and tendons
into hard, inflexible
ropes.  Knotted

this way, you knew
one day there was
no way out of this mess:

you are a ghost
made of glass now.  A river
spirit without the river

forever swollen & punctured
 waiting for your body
to tighten like a great belt

of steel.  Caught
In the north wind,
gasping for air, trying

to stop the bleeding.  Your
body.  Not there any more
except for the shadow

that’s you
to everybody else.
The man.  Covered for life.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

San Luis Valley Blues

Could've stayed there.  I know
since I've built again
farther north.  What would
it look like?  Lots of drinking,
the hazy shade of tobacco.
I would have visited all the near
peaks and worked my tomato
garden in the August light.
I don't know.  The radiation,
all the radon in the rocks, the blank
empty sky--at least at night
I could see the stars, and
driving out ten miles

put me in the mountains,
the forest, the little
trading posts like Platoro
nestled into the heights
like they'd always been there.
There were sheepherders
with Remingtons, riding
Palominos, moving
dirty ewes and lambs
across one mountain highway.
Now, I don't know what it's
like.  I guess there was
a fire and that area's been
hit hard by a pine-killing
beetle.  There's still that
long drive into EspaƱola.
I miss that.  All the empty
hills and valleys, how
there was never
 anyone on that road.

Friday, September 06, 2013

3 Desert interludes

1.  Death Valley Days

I’ve been in Death Valley's
heat, have seen enormous
swarms of bees collecting
by the highways.  We
were on the way
to Bakersfield--not
for the music but
for a job that would make
us Californians.
The dry lake beds
the Joshua trees
the Tehachapi Hills,
that all rejects me.  
And you?  You've seen
it more than me—
La LLorona walking acequias
long after I left Cruces.

2.  The Upper Chihuahuan

When I left Cruces there'd
been a party for my
family. Rudy had been
driving my dad’s 1989 Pontiac
Sunbird like a wild man
to get back home to ‘Burque
in time for who knows what.
I really don’t care.  All I know
was that you were there
too, moving into your
new home in the far
suburbs out toward
the Organ Mountains.
There were boxes
of mine you threw away
You know. There were
boxes unpacked, left out
to rot in the Mesilla
valley sun.  Lots of
Spiders, black widows.
The snakes of mid-summer
cooling under your patio.

3.  High Desert, San Luis Valley

It was a rotten time in that
dry cold place, even though
we tried to plant a garden.
Neither one of us could stay
whether for the deep soaking
Rocky Mountain cold,
or the space that grew
between us like heavy
wet snow.  There were
the beginnings of temptations
dreams of escape not
only from a dreary
high desert town that
wore its sadness like
a morning robe
but from each other. I
know that.  The fact
beating like my heart.