When Roads Become Clouds

The following is a series of poems that I wrote in August 2003, while on a solo road trip from California to Kansas and back. I was recently inspired to unearth them from their hiding place and let them see the light of day.

 


∴ ◊ ∴ 

 

 

-nevada- 

 

Bleeding streets
burnt red,
their cracked and scaly skin
shed the heat of the sun.

Black tar
keeps me stuck here,
as a firmament of
dying stars

press down.

Smoke rises
as the clouds shoot
up

Mojave
mesquite
mescaline.
I am

lost

in Vegas,
mourning.
When the serpent breaks ~
the diamond rattler
strikes

then recoils
into desert sand.

I see
your body in flames,

Punctured,
pulsating
where the poison entered your veins.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-utah-

 

Living
rainbows
cross land and sky,
there are

Charcoal gray
archways,
there are

Pink
flesh cliffs,
there are

Canyon shadows
cutting deep,
there are

Gorges
forged from earth
fire.

Moab,
ancient kingdom, your
iron umber
monuments, your
cosmic bones

I imagine
but do not see.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-colorado-

 

Arapaho
sky forest

Passing over,
I ascend to
fall again.

There are
ghosts in my car.

I talk to them, they
shift, like
static against my skin,

Cold and electric.

Visitors from the trees,
I am alone and listening.

Kiowa,
old wood,
I hear you creaking.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-kansas-

 

Summer rain
wet and warm,

Cicada prairies,
rolling

Seas of gold.

I travel
through the heart of America
unadorned,
past

Rattlesnake jewelry,
past

Sleepy towns
where time moves slow.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-oklahoma-

 

Sweet grass and citrus groves,

In the darkness
I see the tops of trees.

I am afraid of what I do not see.

Cherokee,
the taste of tears,
the smell of home.

Displaced,
forsaken

Mother,
this land
it cries with me.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-texas-

 

Songs of Jesus
dying in the hearts of man.

Open the eyes of my heart,
Lord.

The flood is coming..

in Amarillo
I hear its thunder.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-new mexico-

 

Black Hills
cast their spell
across the border.

Time disappears.

I see you,
Mary Ellen,
at a trading post.
An old woman
wears your ghost:

Leathered skin
silver hair
turquoise eyes

catching dreams.

You ask me for direction.

I am no longer your daughter.

You do not remember me.

Now
we are both lost,
searching for a way out of this world,

Adrift upon Navajo streams.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-arizona-

 

Black Elk canyon,

earthen chamber
where ancestors dream.

Smoke rises.
I pass through
flesh
cleansing fire,
desert belly
screams.

All around the night sky looms
lightning blankets,
covering the land.
You will never leave

 

Phoenix star souls
and rivers flowing

into Eternity.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

-california-

 

Full circle
from the East,

A storm illuminates the desert.

I am no longer scared
of the sacred
old feeling

when roads become clouds.

San Diego,
your haunted mission,
your forgotten river

sleeping.

Countless pathways
intertwine ~
branches, roots twisting
future with past.

Is this where it ends?

Breathless ocean
Burial ground

Home.

 

 

∴ ◊ ∴

 

 

The Open Road

 

 

 

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