A confession in the desert by Chris Wayan, 1990/5/(15?)
"What's this LONG poem about?" you think warily.|
You're right to beware; poetry's gone so pure
Most of it has no about at all--
Distilled water, guaranteed sterile,
No ionic pentameter contaminants!
But don't worry. My doggerel
Is meaningful--full as mud.
Slurp my story-stew; you'll note
Four sharp flavors of about:
About hunger's tunnel vision.
About figure versus field--that sharp Wasp attention!
About those lands that we call waste.
About our toys, and untoys--also called waste.
Hey! You yawning?
Look, you're in danger--
My case is extreme, but a warning.
Here, I'll set you the scene.
From the green Sandias, a spider-fine road|
Leads far to Santa Fe.
The lone thread zigzags range to range,
Skirting the terror of the open high
Desert like a mouse:
Dreads eagles in the clear.
What Rocs did the roadmen fear?
What claws around their cars?
The desert thinly spangled:|
Poplars shouting green
On a subtle sage field,
Advertise water to passing eyes
In exchange for our attention--
Like loud heads on television.
Dead mineshacks scuttle down the draws
Like beercan scorpions.
We slow for tourists in Madrid
Buying from the Hippie Tribe.
Linda's black car roars on,
Enough scenery. That's the field.
Linda, married, asks me why|
Half her friends can't fall in love.
"I have to untwist first,"
said Cecy's letter, "I can't see clear."
"She's intelligent, so are you."
Linda grumbles, flooring it.
"Your eyes are open, more than most.
Why whine? Go jump on somebody.
If you can't find anyone you like,
Take a hike." I blink.
"Stupid, a Sierra Singles hike!"
I try to explain how
I stab into souls,|
Flung by my hunger
for a girl not shrunk like a trophy head.
And guilt for that hunger:
I just wanna grab
A mate who's more or less not dead.
"You want to devour us! Are we prey?"
O what a waste! I absentmindedly
Is this waitress her? O what a waist!
A flare of hair|
In that arroyo, boyo!
Was that blur Her?
Linda snorts and guns the car.
As Coyote ignores blue heaven,
So the bold stripe on the frog
All the rest blurs, pales, fars.|
Figure and field, figure and field.
To save the world we have to see it,
and to see it hunger has to yield.
And it won't: our hunger's real.
So, near-blind to the hoodoos
Along a luminous arc of mesas|
Each sculpted, striking, unique,
But implying a stratum, a pattern, I speak
Of a similar chain of female faces
Stunning, bright, and always just friends.
At least we talk like friends--
But never touch. Till I move on--
Unlove hurts too much.
They only want my brain!
They throw my rest away--
A mirror-image of that trucker's
roadside T and A.
And then they call me cold if I
Reject rejection's pain.
Or is this my|
When a girl doth want me all,
Am I happy as a desert pool?
What do I do? (And this confusion
Isn't no artistic pose.
Boxing with blindfolds gags and all
I gain sore green multiple contusions,
A few do want me, despite my care--
The skeleton achieved by starve,|
The cringe of fossil shame...
You still want ME? I run!
A bluesinger walks the skyline|
Provided I don't stare
Straight at him or her,
Tossing attention's spear.
This field-figure sings, though only I hear:
"Be what they want!Was that blur... her?
Coyote sniffs the guts.
A mate who's more or less not dead.
Throw the rest away.
Eyes full of size,
I forgive Americans their faith:
Be what they want.
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