Crucial Behemoth: Nevada Poems

Black Rock Desert – Whiskey Spring

May 25, 2019

Wait for darkness to fill.
Dream the songs of coyote.
Pack, collective, constellation.
Now night’s arrival reflected
in mirrors and sickness.
People have been here 1000s of years.
I can stand to live another day.
Fears brace me: crutch of reservation.
The thin white-gray memory of playa.
Sinking truth like a sinking smile
and a yearning heart. In Spanish.
Meanwhile there is “while” here.
It is a full space, vast with each step.
The steppe climate unpredictable.
The insects in red light like freckles.
The dust in red light: scratched film.
Daniel Canty wrote of wind, while
I wait for the wind to return
and my courage to grow like a flood.
Pray for no rain this absence of light
and human voices, my own, taking space.
When I step outside, reason will return
just as the landscape of beating hearts
will beat once more.
In 7 hours, day will fill
and I will chatter with wide eyes.

Reno Vignettes

May 27, 2019

Open Mouth

Like the tongue slashed sideways in death pose
Pyramid Lake sloshes fervently nearby.
It is an otherwise astounding glare
thousands of miles in the praxis of center.


Resolution: to arrive at the cover of space
and be provided for by cushions of cloud.
I step out, breathe in the smell of frozen sage.
The Steppe is Massacre Rim on a good day.

A Retribute

Wingfield Park figures standing staring straight.
And later: a man prepares to fish.
And earlier: two women search the grass.
What I would do to be as fixed
as the stature of our public
as statues bleeding and sweating.


The horror of stumbling upon a corpse
captured in full daylight
with no one nearby to hear a gasp.
Empty are its eye sockets.
As empty as the street.

447 #2

Eagleville is the place time won’t forget.
I dream of a banner of American propaganda.
I dream of nowhere to flee toward.
In it the corpses smile in mirth.
In it the corpses smell of new grass.

The Cedar

Unstilled by the awe of life,
she carries white bread across the kitchen,
smears a thickness of pale, yellow butter,
and places, mouth ajar, the bread on the pan.
I stare, hands in my pockets,
and there is the subtle, dehumanizing swelter.

Chokehold on 34

Sliding across dozens of miles of mud,
I question existence before a single pair
of antelope (pronghorn) deapproach.
The floor mats will need to be washed
of more than the dried clay.

Gerlach #1

The visiting woman overheard at the mechanic’s:
“And then it hailed, and it was real hail.”
The male mechanic nodded. Very Nevada. Clear sky overhead.
Playa beyond. Is it nonsense to the locals?
Or is it all sense, ignorance and everything else?

Gerlach #2

I’d been encouraged to visit Bruno’s in any event.
Especially the unforeseen weather.
I visited first, before the weather.
The next day, 36 hours later, I drove by.
Passing, I could hear the buzz of subduction
through the antique walls.


It was here in Reno I discovered Harjo’s quote:
“Some world travelers learn nothing.”
What is to be gained from arriving,
and immediately turning around?
Disambiguation on Wikipedia.
The situation of a place barely inhabited
for 1000s of years: its strength
in the silence of a few
for a few.


Fortifications are not completely designed.
They are not meant to be scaled.
What is the meaning that haunts in full daylight
and entirely horrifying when beyond full view?
Donnelly has as much a name as a voice.
It courses beyond space its chorus vibrating
and choking in inquiry and dying life.

Waves Sequenced

The order of a stabilization.
The incredible order.
Headache and bastardization.
Reality is cold-hearted.
Otherhood is principle. Warmth.
Entrancing. Alive. An earning.
Just to be alive to say hello to
act to participate.
It exists. As do we. As we meet
and part and destabilize across
High Canyon’s shadowy periphery.

Deer Jumper

Enter the twinkling last stance.
We will meet again.
The weather may be warmer,
may be boiling heartbeats.
Black Rock Coyote
Under the assumption of familial fealty,
under the assumption of cordial chaos.
Song start breathes life as interrogation.
Or celebration: placement is lone and true.

Death and Taxes

It hurts less in the meantime.
I don’t know what you mean.
Baby’s breath crown to a walk in the clouds.
Meanwhile: tone death and tone waiting.
Meanwhile: tone as a crucial behemoth.
And back to realism, adigital, tonal:
the champions are the ones that exit to exist.
Never the opposite until a calcifying of tears.

Sparks, Nevada

The first visit I felt nothing. I’d been as.
I’d seen through. I’d evicted from.
The second visit I tripped upon more nothing.
More exquisite and more erroneous the truth.
Forgot to apologize for the judgment.
Returned to the mites with doubtful numbers.


Massacre Lake returns to me.
Petroglyphic and a rising sputter.
Breathless and altogether amesmer.
What massacre this derailing sky?
Back home the sun plasters beauty
and Jason steps forward strongly through time.
Thousands of moments across hundreds of miles.
The red and green and brown and gray
smear into their eternity of perception.

Absinthe Sugar

A crucial dream is the fervor of wake.
A wake is green and crucial.
The green of the smile comes rightly.
Pressure tightly in this shadow presence.
Surrounded there’s the black of the counter,
black of the walls, of the leather seats,
and whatever else is performative and clear.

El Grackle

Greetings, eyes that shoot out like daggers.
Reservations before the noon’s silence.
One becomes infinite of black and purple,
a translucence equal parts obedience and rebellion.
The auditory inquiry is as situational as precious.
I wonder of nearby cravings and graves.

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