snow in the desert

snow in the desert

caught on the high plateau

we were chasing something

a dream from before

clean air heat light

she loved me then

is why I remember

everything so well

before the time of wrong

when everything I did

touched spoke looked like

caused her pain

I saw her wince

something caught in her eye

while the snow in the desert

covered the cactus

drowned out the sand

she loved me then

only after that time

she never loved me again

feeling the weight

a simple gift

glass sand & brass

hourglass

I thought you’d like this

she murmured

looking into my eyes

yes yes I do thank you

taking it not her

into my hands

feeling the weight

the heft

solid construction

cold brass & glass

wondering just where

I might put it

I had nothing to give her

in return

but a peck on the cheek

a simple gift

or was it

to signify the end

of our time?

& these black lines?

the hire car was silver grey

came with a full tank

return policy same

no sat nav

just a map of the islands main roads

& these black lines?

those are the local roads sir

leading to peoples homes

ok I said thank you

& off we went

following the main roads

stuck in tourist traffic

lemme lookit that map

& we set off you know we did

on the black line roads

all gravel sand humped up by use

leaving dust clouds behind

& all went well

for a day or two

until I found myself

in a garden wedged on a rock

excuse me sir I’m stuck

es ok he smiled

just rock it

between first & reverse

it’ll back out

& he was right it did

I suspect this was not

his first rodeo

nights

singing to the stars

looking out over the ocean

waiting for lightning to strike

bright up the sky

profound things to say

expounding to silence

no one to hold my hand

wait for me to cry over

genius spilt on the sand

whistling to the wind

knowing everyone must die

& until then

bored

bored again

no one to appreciate

nowhere to go

be received

no majesty

for this jester in the night

in the saltwater gained

promises made

written somewhere

on lost papers

in the saltwater gained

who I’d be

what I would do

how things

our lives would change

& now

they lie forgotten

just another set

of cold nights

lying alone

semi drunk prayers

drifting into dead air

for lost lovers

half-forgotten friends

sulky solemn things we say

& the promises made

driftwood & sand

on the currents of another life

our fading days

burned out

there was a time

my ancestors say to me

late in the day

when the moon is low

the wind is sleeping

the sand ceases to move

of a time

when shut up

was never heard

we would bang our drums

sing until morning

or the singing was done

in this way our hands

reached back all the way

to those gone before

& then came

the time of shut up

we were not to talk

sing of these things

that connected us

to those who no longer

walk the day

& like the fire

before you now

growing colder

this is how they

burned us out

ended our culture

some slight ceremony

a cheap room paid by the week

there along the shore

& the landlady did not bother

in the least

I found a piece of driftwood

beaten by tides time the sand

brought it to what was home

let it dry a day or two

just outside the door

dragged it in set it up on the drawer

became my meditation piece

something to stare at

until the landlady came knocking

that piece of wood is stinking

smells of dead seaweed

if you keep it indoors

I’m going to have to ask you

to leave

that night I dragged it back

whence it came

some slight ceremony

pushed it back into the waves

watched it float

disappear from view

made my way back to my cheap room

meditated on the empty drawer

for a little while

feeling I could not leave

too soon

dust from distant places

back a couple of days

& looking around

the piles of stuff

needs washing

putting away

hanging on the wall

the knick knacks souvenirs

picture postcards on the fridge

creating tracks across the floor

the sand from far off places

leading to & from the door

leaving reminders

once we weren’t here at all

& the stuff that doesn’t show

is the dust from distant places

settling slow in my mind

dreaming of Arizona

just a patch of sand

where I sat for a while

out of sight sound of the road

the wind whispering my ears

couple of guys I met earlier

filling up with water

supplies at the gas station

telling me of living in a cabin

on a trail off’f the side road

miles from anywhere here

& I knew if I there was a way

to go do that

instead

we’re Arizona dreaming

sitting in the sand

listening to the wind

today