more from the Vegas Wetlands…
From a new bookish thing in progress:
The rumored fire came but not how we thought, we saw it start with bees on the sill, then russet fog
and we fled to a border where dunes outnumber trees. Busses ran later than before. We took them all, no reason not,
wombed in each other’s jackets. The fire was finally dreamt but ghostly heat seared the bedroom floor, we fingered the
fragrant holes, infesting us, skins thirsty peach orchards
moods political because ill. The sheets caked in fear and dessert you stole from the schmaltzy French bakery
on Cossack Hill we smiled the stray hairs croissant flake fingernails. The border has all-hours donuts and chickenwire pyramids you
hack through with garden shears and the biggest Laundromats for five towns cathedralesque and steaming. Incense fumes by
the Valentine Buddhas while dice clatters to polka music, as in New Orleans outside the
termite brothel we ran the aquaducts cat- screeching, you’re dreaming of mutated wolves again in a ubiquity of back doors for lack of entrances but we could wait several dreams to age for laundry here to dry.
Our apartment designated for accidents especially a small animal’s room behind the kitchen where the actor lived with filth, X-ray cereal box bifocals, his Bettie Boop boxer shorts,
the scripts for surrealist Westerns –How tired was he to tend a shoebox filled with wax horrors showed off at parties?
No parties at the borders, only lingering vigils but somehow I acquired his famous box—
(In New York I stayed with an out-of-work actor and his girlfriend’s rabbit but no girlfriend so he napped all day with his hand in a broken aquarium no fish and ate fast food on his exercise bike. You must think I’m really something, he said. Things actors would do not even acting but the girlfriend needed to get the rabbit back he said tearfully—)
Some rooms shouldn’t be slept in but times were cheap. The best way: to pretend to read the newspapers while listening to the railing’s vibrations as if they led back to a parking lot we wrote our collective will in.
We ate white bread with dollar store ketchup drank hot rice milk and never thought about children until they were in the house our rooms sleeping in luggage with their cousins, because islands collide under our chins like parachuting firemen.
Bus terminals snowed over from seagulls, and the tracks came hurtling back to an esoteric kiosk selling tarot cards. You couldn’t put your hand anywhere except your friend’s pocket. The surprise unpacks itself on the bus. We are there, now, where the fire meant.
contrasting winters: a super quick trip to New York over a week ago, 4 days and nights in snow and 20 degree temperatures and then back into the 75 degree desert. I think that got me sick, and the plane’s air circulation was broken too. Spent two days, when I wasn’t in my house writing or laying on my couch, walking aimlessly through the Vegas Wetlands — which is an odd concept: wetlands in the desert but they are there and there is rushing water too with birds balancing in it. And wonderful mazy trails and you find ominous desert things like big piles of boulders in a blank white stretch or blue netting inscribed in the parched earth. the flat openness of the desert does conjure up the possibility of communication with something….bigger even if its something inside you that the well-ventilated land compels forth.
Summer nights in Southern California as coyotes wailed staying up late and listening to weird music on the radio by the bed dreaming with my eyes open of what a secret means when it is transmitted to you in the darkness. I’m gonna buy a new radio and have hot summer secret transmission nights in Vegas. Maybe I’ll go to Radio Shack even.
The Aquatic Hour
Night radio in bed
Dials pulse low green
Dark is swirled lines in the room
I look away I listen
Coyotes come to life so late the hills shake
I found this strange station not to sleep
House creaks with cooling mortar,
stars in cactus and perfume glass,
triangular in the dirt.
This late music born neglected
made in diner basements
salt white flatness of middle country
rickety nowhere depots.
Now two, a book falls somewhere
cavernous, an image blots the sound.
Things I thought I knew
I hope to hear tonight: names of
minor towns famous
for halfwit mayors and soda factories.
This maudlin DJ drowns into himself,
his lumbar valleys. Lulled by his sleepless
baritone that speaks of UFOs
and Neptunian interferences, he
pins me darkly between land
and water. Such dark lines keep me buoyant,
excited for nothing morning brings.
I hold vigil for a secret that enters me,
like him, through embrace gossip or hymn.
You don’t recognize a secret until it is in,
forgotten. Gardens outside swim
with deflected sounds, figs knocked
by blue windows, furs and trash rustling.
Under tented sheets and ceiling blades
as coyotes feed quiet by the dams
I await a song promised made under duress
subterranean the one song silted by creeks
and tornado shelters long vacant now here
photos from the tail end of my winter 2013 trip, in Sebastopol, at a small farm, mostly chickens and vineyards, that I stayed a couple nights at in a beautiful cabin warmed by a wood burning stove, where we cooked fish and greens outside under the very dark, starry sky. hopefully I can be back there for longer this summer. majestic. good for writing and peace of heart.
Mayhem, a short film by Abigail Child, first screened to me years ago as an undergraduate at Santa Cruz by Earl Jackson in our class called Cinema and Subjectivity, where readings and theories were weekly coupled with film screenings. An extraordinary class — and the pairing of text with film was always provoking and, above all, fun.
This fast, dizzying film is basically a montage of the more suspenseful climactic scenes in dozens of film noirs interspersed with scenes from erotic films. NSFW I guess….but safe for weirdos clearly.
Revisiting this recently as I take a new class on theory, this time as a grad student in Vegas, reading Freud and Lacan and talking talking about Desire and the Uncanny and today is V Day. I am ill this VD, nursing a malady found in the New York snow…I also found an old paper today I wrote about Mayhem in a box of papers I’ve been sorting through and destroying, as I’m wont to do on days I feel sick and weird. Like today.
Watch with the lights off (obviously) in a state of relaxation, with or without a suitable playmate near at hand, or a warm drink, or more pillows than you think you need. It’s weird but effective I think.
A group photo of the poets and fiction writers from last night’s NeonLit Reading (L-R): Austin Ely, Brittany Bronson, Olivia Clare, Shaun Leonard (emcee), Amy Mayo, Dan Hernandez, Michael Berger.
Photo by Marianne Chan
A great night with great people, what more could you want?