birds fly backward
climbing into descent
calamity, cataclysm, and contrary
jumbled, confused, so proud of its ignorance
making no sense
wind-driven and dark
searching for the day without a yesterday
in the hollow of time
The Hottest Day
vaguely woven forest
in a vaguely woven forest
greens and grays
white and black
silver, of course.
a wayward band,
small birds, sparrows of some kind,
or tits perhaps.
flitting and fluttering in silence
from branch to branch to branch
their busy order
securing their place
briefly holding court
into a vaguely woven forest
A Doorway and a Box
Garund sat on a stone sneering at Garamond. “Go through the door, Garamond,” Garund taunted. Before Garamond could respond, Garund was eaten by many insects. However, Garamond had already gone through the door and did not hear Garund’s muffled screaming and screaming and screaming for help. Even if Garamond could have heard this racket, he would not have been able to go back through because it was a one-way doorway and he had already chosen which way he wanted to go through. It would not have made sense for Garamond to go through the other way.
Now, the next thing not to make any sense was that Garamond was holding a small ceramic box. He removed the lid and inside the was a little man playing a little piano. His name, in fact, was Don Piano. There was a little piano, a miniature candelabra, and Senor Piano was wearing tiny little cufflinks. Don Piano leaned close as to smile and show his exceptionally white teeth. They, his teeth, were impressive. Don Piano played on while the gorgeous Yolo Wednesday sang simple sweet soft swaying songs with her beautiful whispering lisp. . . “Do you realize you were just hypnotized?” asked Don Piano.
As Don Piano played on bluebirds and blue butterflies emerged from the ceramic box of which it has been purposely unmentioned that the box was also blue. There are reasons for everything under the sun, including the shade.
Garamond closed the box.
Ringo floated above the plain
on his back, of course.
sparkling dark stars singing in hum and motion
the pack of coyotes executed their plan
and in a frenzy, they ate themselves next half-moon
Wide, deep blue ribbons wave lazily in the echoes of evening
these are events sworn to in an Affidavit
in the Land of Null and Nothing.
This red thing
This arrhythmic thing
This beating heart
Pounding and pounding, pounding
Torn from the chest and held high
in infrangible grasp
in wild eccentricity
This beating heart
erratically pulsing wave after wave of deep, red light
& silver, dull gray, ungreen
under these painted skies
Pounding, pounding, and pounding
in wild eccentricity
This Chaotic Heart
This arrhythmic thing
This red thing
Slip quietly through every woodland.
There is the wind which may swirl through saplings and their parents
and the tall grasses and dried flowers.
Bird wings flutter, mostly away.
Scratchings and rustling beneath the lowest branches and in the thick brier.
Delicate colors as in a painter’s palette, aside, muted and subdued in a landscape held back.
The memory flutters.
The words choke well before reaching the tongue.
So say nothing.
These are the Days
There are those memories of the autumnal winds when seasons turn upside down and the icy drama of the silver winter threads through the hollows between trees stirring last year’s brown leaves into a low ruckus and crackle. Thin and bare sycamore branches, delicate and bony, trace low and lonely moans in their dark choir. Pink sand from the nearby riverbed salted everywhere and anywhere; grit flecked in your hair, in your shoes, in your eyes. These are the days. These were the days. These are the heartfelt and kind memories of these days.
The shape of the Mojave is formed by everything that is not Mojave.
Ocean Woman rose naked from the sea. She became the mountains and valleys and glistened as she slept under the moon. She became awake as the sun rose and warmed her. That is what I heard.
Clouds pass by here, everything passes by; shadows, people. It is just desert. discord, strife, conflict, contention, Jangled trees in discord, sticks, twigs, gray plants that are most likely dead, not that they ever had a chance, or did they?
Patience, Brother. Listen to the raging and eroding wind–with its grit and dust–it will help you to know peace–that anger has no use for ascent.
We come to the desert by different paths at different times for various reasons, this is how the weaving begins. The weaving. The constant weaving and braiding and twisting and tying of stories and realities and things in between.
This is the land, too. One place becomes another gradually or immediately or maybe something or somehow in between. Everything is the same and everything is different and sometimes that is just by a little bit–little by little–until everything is different. The geology, the plants, and animals–the rare raindrops scattered about on the playa surface attacking the bare earth in numbers so large the washes do not understand the burden they are about to hide beneath. This is the desert.
Coyotes laughing. Rats that are cannibals. Lizards that spit venom. Carnivorous insects — I wish!
This is transformation upon transformation. Metamorphosis.
Painful youth with poignant memories newly scarred, not forgotten, but pushed aside. Here, however, one may clear themselves of the entanglements others twist around us, to distract us, to hamper us. We grow within our chosen realities here.
Time is multidimensional and multidirectional. We have our own time and we are within our time and be inside and outside at the same time. Our time is our time and others try to take that time from you for themselves. Each falls into and overlaps with the others.
We learn to leave it all behind. Luckily enough, alone.
There is the final question, I calculate–Really?
It seems to be a thousand years, now.
Laughing coyotes, brotherhood.
Observe the puzzle pieces we are assembled of, each moment of us can be examined from each particle separate or in context within the pieces that are made up of groups of pieces in a gradient fabric made in context within those around us and without. The bighorn sheep are also gregarious beasts.
All the while, the desert is art.
Break it all into pieces and look at the pieces.
Possibly unnoticed, we change and become a different creature, a different being.
You have to grow. There is no choice if you indeed exist. There will be two paths and you will take one, however, even if you took the other path you would end up where the first would go; over there.
At least you know that if not directly, there will be some kind of connection between this way and that way over there. There is nothing that says you will end up better if you go one way or the other–one way is neither right nor wrong–possibly–you will, however, end up where you are meant to be. That can be a horrible shame.
And over there, either way, will be the same thing repeated, only in a slightly different light
Patrick – Age 20
There is a broken land where mountain ranges rise like angry tidal waves in turbulent, slow-motion seas, senselessly wrestling in convection.
Occasionally, countless battalions of clouds march briskly right to left without leaving a drop of water, all saved for a brutal assault on a faraway fire.
adapt or die–that is all that can be said.
Broken animals and plants living in uneven symbiosis.
and above; thrown into the wind, birds fly incorrectly and confused
and tumble from the sky in mid-breath.
tiny fish in the broken river’s warm water quietly dance an intricately choreographed ballet.
Trees are not trees . . .
and the rabbit is not in charge as he would have you believe.
Bragging coyotes arrogantly bark and yap after a kill
Then they eat.
What happens when one’s reflection takes charge?
Savan wakes up and gets ready for the day ahead
The sunlight coming through the window felt good on his back. This was a pleasant way to wake up. Savan Navas felt great. He shaved, showered, and then made breakfast for himself.
Savan dressed and stood looking into the mirror and tied his tie and adjusted the knot in exactly the position he preferred. A final inspection– He stood back a bit. He looked great. He smiled. What a wonderful day this will be, Savan thought. He took a breath then watched his reflection turn and walk out the door.
That was so strange, Savan thought.
Savan’s reflection walks out the door.
Savan was shocked; he froze. What did he see his reflection do? Should I follow? Savan wondered. He smiled at the thought although feeling an anxious cringe. Savan could hear the deadbolt slide into place and lock. Did I just lock myself in? He chuckled.
He could not remember something like this ever happening before–his reflection walking out the door.
I wonder if he knows where he is going.
This was entirely new to him.
What happened and to who?
That can’t happen, and yet it did happen. How could it have happened? Maybe it was him who walked out the door. It couldn’t have been him; he was right here.
This must be a dream. There are some dreams we swear aren’t dreams that real–but we are dreaming. There are some realities that are dreams, and we may find out later that we lived our dreams.
There appears to be reality and something else, possibly our reality is our point of view.
I wonder if he knows where he is going.
I wonder what the reflection does when I leave the room. I suppose it exists until I am out of view. I presume the reflection exists as long as I am there to be reflected.
This has never happened before. At least, it has never happened in reality that I can remember.
The reflection got ahead of me.
Here the story changes as Savan realizes that he may be the reflection rather than the being.
Leaving the room seemed easy enough–however, for some reason, he could not remember leaving the room before. He was not sure if that was what he did every day. He could not remember.
If I go, what do I do? I do not remember!
Savan could not remember any of these things. He could, however, remember that he just saw himself walk out of the apartment.
He could not remember anything before the sun on his back woke him up. There was no night before, no day before, no weeks, months, or anything. There were no memories other than the sun on his back and the events that took place until now.
What is beyond the door? Where do I go? What do I do when I get there?”
Since I cannot remember, does this mean I am the reflection, and the real me left the room?
Savan ponders his feelings — if he were just a reflection, would he have any feelings at all? Is feeling nothing feeling?
What does all of this mean? Is this existence? What will/may happen from this point?
A subtle agony overtook him as he realized he may be nothing more than a reflection of a man, and if so, this was his existence in total. If he turned around there may be nothing–he would cease to exist.
“Nowhere,” Savan thought “Out there is nothing.”
Then, indeed, he would cease to exist once he altered his state, even if only by one particle, or a photon as it may be—surface tension.
Let go of the past.
“Is this what happens every day? “
He could not remember.
If it were his destiny, to be ephemeral, he fretted, he may cease to exist once he turned, and looked away from the mirror. To move on his side of the glass–to try to leave the room and enter a future.
There is no future; there was no past
Since he could not recall a past, there was nothing, and he could not imagine a future without a history to gauge it by.
He felt cold and empty.
But he was conscious of himself. He was self-aware.
“Do I exist at this exact moment?”
Not to my reflection.
Am I in the mirror or looking into the mirror?
“Certainly, I do not exist to the version of me that I believed to be a reflection of me who left the apartment.”
“It would be safe for me to remain here just like this if I wished to continue to exist, although this existence would be unwhole without dimension.
Or do I exist as long as I am aware of myself?
I would think that once, I also may have left the room while my reflection stared in disbelief. However, I cannot recall, at this moment, anything that would lead me to believe I should remember anything about a reflection acting out of character for a reflection. Generally, reflections have no future, as their reality is dependent on their subject.
Do my reflections exist when I look away? Are they always there?-Waiting for me?
As long as I am conscious of my reality, I am real. I am looking into the mirror and do not see my reflection, which may indicate that if I look away (turn around) I may no longer be capable of maintaining my reality, and that may mean that I am an ephemeral reflection and not the real me.
That I am only real outside of reality.
Descartes – “cogito, ergo sum” (I think therefore I am.)
Or can I walk through that door into an uncertain reality, a future, and live from this point forward free of preconceptions and learned behavior?
The only way to know is to turn around and walk out the door. I may cease to exist; however, I did exist as I chose to see if I did, indeed, exist.
Savan turns around to leave the room but finds himself looking in the mirror and sees himself coming in the doorway.
Instantly, there is nothing.
How Survival Looks
I believe it misleading when looking out over the broad plains and shallow valleys; that it appears nearly lifeless. This, however, is how survival looks. A lot is going on out there; birds, lizards, rats, rabbits, and snakes. It depends on the season. Some varmints only come out at night. All come out to eat–some to be eaten. The tussles and killings are kept discrete and as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the next meal, now searching for its food in the crevices between the rocks and hollows of the cactus plants. Every single thing dies. Out there, every single thing dies bravely, without fear–we imagine.
Mojave National Preserve
Enrico Caruso Island
This is Lake Tuendae (to be beheld) at the Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx. In the center of the lake is an island with a fountain. The name of the island in Enrico Caruso Island.
Enrico Caruso Island is named Enrico Caruso Island in honor of Enrico Caruso but not Enrico Caruso the famous singer but the Enrico Caruso who built Enrico Caruso Island was named for the legendary Enrico Caruso and named it Enrico Caruso Island for himself.
Early One Morning
Very early one morning in Joshua Tree National Park . . .
It was, of course, quiet. It was, of course, dark. It was also a little bit chilly, and after a moment it was a moment before dawn.
Midnight blue to dark blue to blue and sky blue.
Clouds in waves of deep red, red, orange, yellow, and ultimately white.
Everything collected the light, saving it, glowing with it. Warming.
The night was over. The day had begun.