by Mike Glover
This is the problem, driving across the desert in
On a cloudy evening, an epiphany
Slams out the back door of awareness before I look into its face
Leaving only its scent behind,
For just a moment I think I sense something
Eternal, and constant, and divine.
Racing along at the foot of the Organ mountains
As twilight puts on its wrinkled and smoky robes in the west,
I pick up the scent of tools and work
Yet to come, and the scent of cattle and damp chaparral,
And desert as far as the eye can see,
I smell the breath of God.
In this desert is a phenomenon,
It begins with towering monoliths growing purple and black with altitude,
Out on the plain the sun disappears and the breezes begin
Cloud shadows pace across the giant sweep of the basin floor like silhouettes
Floating effortlessly in their maiden voyages or lost like tokens broken
Adrift, and lost to hope.
I look around at the grand sweep of things and can't help feeling
Fortunate to be traveling through,
Now the thunder, dust, hail, wicked, icy
Pounding, all is plunder and power, thunder and flaming whips of burning ozone
Dart from peak to peak,
Boulders roll like gravel into the icy sludge of the tempest
All is mist and descent.
Then the visibility improves,
Slowly at first as the ice turns back to rain, then there is the muddy
The mountain sheds the water all at once, I am cut off and isolated
By frothy, muddy torrents on my left and my right roaring
Into the arroyo below with the strength of a thousand freight trains,
Even in the day it is dark, but lightning like a strobe
Animates the slick, silver sheen
Finally, it is done,
This thunder, this thing that shook the earth beneath my feet
This screaming, vengeful and malignant terror now
Rumbles across the canyon like a lullaby, I can see my storm
Wreaking havoc far away, the same black cloud with tendrils streaming down and
Wrapping a patch of earth and rock across the canyon
Into its furious, dying drama.
And now all around me earth wakes up from the pounding,
Twilight settles in and creaks softly in its rocking chair in the east,
In the west, the sun is setting beyond the mesa, there is another storm
On the Floridas beyond, and on Cookes Peak, and on the Burros,
And the Black Range, it is raining on all these places at once even though
They don't seem to be connected, but I just had the feeling all of a sudden
That maybe somehow they are.
Then I pick up these things that I carry with me and
Stuff them back into my car wondering how do I fit in to what
Just happened, surely something so powerful and unique must
Have some meaning that I can take away with me but
It just isn't there. There is nothing left. I perform this mental exercise
To recreate the feeling and the rush but I realize it is fading faster than
I can recreate it, already before my wheels are on the blacktop I wonder if it
This is the problem, to live like a cartoon,
To wake up like a hamster to a bell in a box and run all day in a wheel
And think you're going somewhere.
And then for one day you get out of the wheel and something phenomenal
But it doesn't seem real.
You don't have a frame of reference, a bearing, no schemata, you don't
Even remember where you were standing when someday you try to go back
You don't even have a Polaroid.