thru the desert

a thousand small black & blue birds sitting
together on city power line above highway
busing into boston
before them, a hawk in bare tree over snow
calmly watching the little birds,
I saw looking up from reading
about the expressiveness of using metered language
in the tunnels and the sunlight
traveling with sun dipped strangers
how there’s nothing to say
dead hawk lying on the median
sign of the strangled earth

at Gate 33 – my lucky #
I’m going to Los Angeles land of my mother
and father. My mother saying she remembers
lying on the beach at Christmas

Italian relatives in LA telling me about my great-grandma, how she told her ex-husband: god is my good friend, he’s walked with me since I was a little girl
when her ex tried to say god told him they should get back together
how someone told me: there is no such thing as the soul
& I knew I had to leave then
knew I could not be someplace the spirit’s not
welcome

now passing thru the Spanish lands
the balmy desert red
the Spanish flower murals along the freeway

where is the soul? It is lost here
asking where is god here
a bird passed the bus window
a nearly invisible gray flash
headed to phoenix by night
to find the start of wind

the moon orange lying on the city coming in
the old man saying of his love, it’s always been nice & easy
black coyote running
thru gas stations
smog factories on desert floor
black man on bus saying soon
there will be no way for the black kids
& that ain’t funny
a call from Maine on cellphone telling me of sorrow and blowing snow covering
the windows

the Pixies over loud speakers
drawing me to some tavern
the Led Zeppelin blaring in the sun
keeping me there
sun & tequila in my coffee
I ain’t had no rider
since my rider’s been gone
here city sparrows are gods
god is a beggar
balloons going up into the blue sky
bring memories of a western world
transmitting my soul to my baby
on Leonard’s Butte, him texting
at that moment: hope you find
tranquility in the desert
pink desert

dream of the one who says there is no soul becoming
a man in black when I said I couldn’t travel with her

old man drunk on tequila trying
to hit on me at the light rail
saying let me buy you a drink,
I’m a New Englander too
I’ve traveled this whole world
and god is watching over me
wherever I go & god knows
I want to party too
come have a drink with me
you’re a wonderful woman
shaking my hand

I think of my special one then, and how he says
you’re rising from the ashes like phoenix

leaning down dizzily on hardwood floors
for what the Native Americans are saying
about loss of life and culture
from this museum, the least visited
exhibit – no one wants to see
what’s happened to the red men & women
the Natives given mcdonalds hamburgers
instead of buffalo
my belly full of in & out burger
drinking booze not water
not being able to see straight or think clear
with such diets
all the waste piled up
in this desert
throwing away hundreds of water
bottles each day – no recycling –
no clean water
poverty on top of poverty
deporting the Mexicans
when this is Mexico
the cooks at my brother’s work
with no green cards, having to hide in the kitchen

I dream of running thru the rain
and wake to us running thru
the rain, I can hear the rain calling
from outside, the words tingling my skin
I will go back to the river humbled
and ready to listen again

the Indian’s penis turned to a door stand
in hollywood
my constant thirst in this desert
“to be an artist is to seek truth,
it is our responsibility to become
long and comprehensive”
my shadow, the trickling rain
the sacred basket
I left in the home of the one who doesn’t
believe in the soul
how it upset me. How I left the basket there
when Maine said bring it back

the whale under manhattan beach pier
that keeps all the lost things

to come out of the rain I walk
into huge music store & play
the same sweet melody on all
the Spanish guitars
then get a call from crying friend & I’m back
into the rain
to cafe with indie rock playing
and youth who seem to mirror me
oh the sad beautiful scramble of this life

a small departure
drop my tickets and the plane takes me anyway
I take the keys to people’s houses with me
find them in my pockets in strange places
with their gold answers, and mail them back
get a call from worried friend, thinking * has gone
to kill himself in the snow. said he’s already left.
An alarm’s going off. And my baby’s music in my ears.

How different all these birds are,
some in suits, some in cowboy boots
and jeans with paint on them
I’m that cowgirl – and they tell me,
it’s cool your man don’t mind you don’t dress nice
I take house keys from Los Angeles
I take house keys from Phoenix
feeling both like I’ve recently been
granted everything, & like I only have
myself, ghost in a body shroud
please say * doesn’t kill himself in the snow
river protect him
the dead dove in the red rocks
yesterday – stuffed looking – the desert
valley, a sprawl of lights
this morning, flying away

my baby being at chicago o’hare airport
right after me, looking for me
our paths crossed a thousand miles away
felt like he might appear at any
minute – him going thru chicago
to go to the southwest – me going through
chicago to leave the southwest
birds passing each other

cold greeting me at bus station
rolling rock & hot pastrami in freezing parking lot,
calls about suicidal tendencies

getting high with a friend who picks me up
from the bus stop for the first
time in days. him telling me about
all the suicide in his family –
his wife, his uncle
the list goes on and on
because indians are treated like 2nd class
citizens, they feel worthless
he left me at my apartment
and women’s voices entered
my head – flooded it in the silence
like dream fragments – I turned on a movie
to shut them down, Wilco’s, I’m trying
to break your heart
home to snowy north on the bus,
worried about friends who don’t want to live
I turn off the radio & hear the continuous
sound of ice crashing over the dam from my bedroom

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