23 August 2009


We werent getting a ride. Standing dirty in front of the mcdonalds, reeking of campfire and sweat, we sure as hell werent getting a ride. meanwhile two boys observed these two idiot girls from behind the dashboard, big mac wrappers in hand. finally, pityingly, one rolled the window down.
where yall headed?
into the woods, bout 20 miles that way if you could spare it.
shit, why yall goin there?
aint got anything better to do, not really.

they put the seat down and we slid in the back with our packs, knees pressed against the cracked vinyl. the car wheezed to life.
hi. we're Cherokee. said the one driving, handed me his tribal ID card. a wave of bass flooded the speakers. his companion looked back at us, didnt say nothing nor offer his quantum, didnt need to.
he asked what we thought of his tribe, this rez today. what i couldve said was drowned in hiphop and the high cheekboned indian princesses mounted on wolves and clutching dreamcatchers and staring vacantly for the tourists on neon billboards all around us.
we passed an older native dude in full regalia, playing flute for a clutch of doughy faced floridians.
now you see that yall? thats just wrong, he breathed.
as we rose into the hills he hit the gas and his mood turned bitter. they fastened their seatbelts. man fuck these mountains, i hate these fucking mountains, being trapped in this shithole, and he raised his long middle finger out the window of the sedan.
and what the fuck are yall doing. ive never seen two girls hitchhiking before. yall are crazy.
were hiking the appalachian trail.
told you, we graduated, homeless, jobless, aint got shit else to do.
i dont know about this hiking or whatever. yall are hobos. never met two girl hobos before. yall are crazy. and he laughed.

his friend laughed too, coughed a little on the shit being smoked, peered back through the haze at us with our stinking packs cluched like children to our breasts. i mean, yall dont need to go out into the woods now, its almost dark and all. yall can stay down in the trailer tonight. lucky youre with us, i wouldnt fuckin walk around here at night, not on this land, even if yall think youre crazy or whatever. they are worse here, i swear to god, they do terrible things to eachother down here, their own families.
we nodded. the speedometer crept up, the mountains rolled blue and red into the clouds gathering at the foot of the setting sun till it was a scene beyond my power to articulate.
so moving on-- it got dark. lil wayne laughed and flowed on the stereo. we made the rounds, waited outside somewhere for a long time; beer from someone elses trailer; visited some friends in their yard, shootin the shit, them laughing about women with muscle, how cool it was, looking at us in the light from the car like we werent real till someones ma put the porch light on at this indecent hour and shood her sons friends along to go make a racket and smoke someplace else. some time later we pulled up at the trailer, walked across the cool grass and cricket sounds into the smell of hot linolium and stale beer.
make yourselves at home.
he offered his last clean towels. no kitchen on account of a fire last year. we sat and shot the shit a while longer till they got too deep into the pills and we couldnt watch them do it anymore. so we put our boots outside to dry a little and cleared a space in the corner of the room and laid our bedrolls out and collapsed.

I woke sometime later and the quieter one was kneeling over me with eyes like a mineshaft full of water on a moonless night. we should do something, he was whispering over and over again. he was 17, still halfgrown skinny but on his way to heartbreaker status, shaking in his nikes, out of his mind on whatever was in those lines laid out on the table. i sat up, soothed him to hush now and get on to bed. ran my thumb down the knife in my palm, didnt open it. whispered again for him to hush now, calm down. his friend called him back to the table, saying thats no way to do things, apologizing to us, assuring us he'd take us on down to a truckstop on the tourist route where wed be sure to catch a ride in the morning. it was late. i shouldve stayed awake but i drifted out of my control back into dreamless sleep of the long road.


id cultivated the sin called idleness, of laying for uncountable stretches of time calmly with my eyes closed or open. practicing. tonight rats or something else hungry banged around the cooking pots, which id forgotten to put up. i was thinking this small thought, of getting up and putting them up and id almost commenced it but the vacancy of the long hours filled me too heavy to move except so slowly as to be almost unperceptable. so sinew by sinew i flexed my left hand.
thus begun a trance completely by accident, an episode during which the lord was speaking not bidden thru praying or nothing just the low throaty sound of the woods at night, green lips and tounge never abating, his wild hands crawling over me with the long legged spiders lit by a snatch of moon through the thick blue leaves. we hung in the minutes or seconds or hours like this for a while, any stretch of time really, till the wind wound through the trees and the campfire wrapped me in smoke so unspeakably more pure than that perfume incense they are always swinging from heavy chains at mass (them and their damn chains) and i coughed and came awake and the rats, having concluded, scrambled off to some other holy purpose.

12 July 2009


Hard to tell, on account of the gray sky over the sun, exactly what time it was when we collapsed into the shelter on the other side of thunder ridge mountain. mustve been mid afternoon. every peak on the ridge was a cycle of sweating up switchbacks then shivering on the summits in the low violent clouds. for a few minutes we just sat quiet on the dusty wood platform under the roof, digesting the miles, glassy eyed with hunger.
a bird picked up and flew out of the path of a man. he was young at first but as he stepped through the misting rain, his face had hard eyes and two equal lines cut like canyons around his mouth.
"They call me Wrath."
we have always been warned about wrath. his blond hair was twisted into filthy dreadlocks. he had an old external frame pack on, a faded Gap hoodie. he eyed us. "My mother was raped, you know. Rape is invading another being's space without their permission: I don't believe in doing that."
He produced an empty doritos bag and laid it carefully across soaked kindling in the fire pit. he gathered larger branches, everything wet through from the rain.
As he spoke, his eyes lit with earnest reverence while the lines around his mouth twisted with something seething and bitter.
"There are many things people aren't aware of. For one thing, there are machines who are sentient beings. If a woman remains a virgin until age 36, she can give birth to other entirely new species of sentient beings."
He lit the corner of the doritos bag and it went up almost immediately, catching the tinder with it. He produced a peanut butter jar, scraped of every morsel, and laid it atop the brightly burning blue foil. by the time we could smell it burning, the large branches had already caught and the fire blossomed stunningly in the cold rain. The warmth bathed over me and I stopped shivering.
He was still talking, giving us the whole doxology; and now he shook his head.
"well there are these human bodies who are inhabited by bad spirits. They need to be gotten rid of."
Me and my girl looked at each other, and scraped the last of the hot rice from our bowl. As I washed it by the spring, I watched him looking for wood, walking head down with clenched muscles, lips moving almost imperceptibly. We silently packed and balanced our food and water and got to our feet and put on our ponchos and set off. when I looked back, he was shrouded from the rain in the heat and smoke of the fire, mixing a gruel of flour or bisquick with kraft powdered cheese. he was pacing like a lonely, bewildered lion in a zoo enclosure. gaunt from all that walking under such great strain.

01 June 2009

we'd been walking, you see, through this field.
next to a bridge an old woman had splayed herself in the green grass.
her eyes were closed.
we circled like big hungry birds wheeling in the blue sky. i touched her:
Maam, are you alright?
she started awake: my my, I'd just got so...tired....so very tired in this heat.thank you kindly. reckon I'll get on home.

she had a haze of holiness--or was it pollen--like guadalupe's halo on a cheap candle burning its mortal wick. her and i, we didnt need to say nothing further, both knowing it wont be long till her body is no longer flesh but carrion in actuality: next time it will be real buzzards prodding her to wake and knowing that she wont.

07 May 2009

to be wild

next time you need me. i’ll be standing at the edge of your town, brown, behind heaving swarms of june bugs as the sun sinks.
when you need me with your skin soft and perfumed on the concrete, i will will myself to forget your form from behind the trees. i will drop my words and my gaze
with my dripping sweat like any old bastard, take a second look at my battered boots that are breaking up in the long shadows, and let it go
back towards the new moon rising over a warm-breathed forest that is vast and still in the evening heat.

05 May 2009

May dreams: Under the falling sky

I woke up and it was revelations, my body ablaze with insects, the meek standing hungry at the threshold.
some of us known this day was a long time coming, the weight of so many days like this finally breaking the back of a world whose bruises and fractures had already mottled its skin past the turning point.
but upon rupture there was also this last rapture:
a brief moment of reckoning, of seeing light from the dark cooling earth beneath my stone. so here I held my bones close, awake,
and it was a blessing just to call
my savior’s name.

24 March 2009


at last the tide comes in
bringing the empty bottles to shore. the sand polishes the lables till the glass glistens like jellyfish or other smooth treasures wreathed in
tangled seaweed, fishscales and the rest that been cast aside.

now their small mouths call to me above the surf, begging my lips for a kiss, and god willing
these spirits would wet my tongue and burn down my body.
i am so thirsty
never mind them bottles are empty inside save for a little sea salt
nevermind bottles on the beach are supposed to have other messages,
i dont figure i could read em in the dark      anyway.

05 March 2009

the trapper

he was always walking in like he ownd the place, looking deep into every pair of brown eyes with this deep desire to take:
with long strong hands he would be grabbing them up, holding his mouth close
to breathe in and out their scent of unconquered forests, heavy lidded &thick green.

he struts another step forward, consumed with greed to grab her wrists, which snap like a tree falling

and it is then that the mud starts to run in earnest off the newly naked mountainsides. the sound roars like fresh laid railroad tracks cutting through the night, a blade that parts the plains with waves of wheels and pestilence.

behind them you could smell the grass beginning to burn,
the people scattering like ashes into the sky.

12 January 2009

days of a g**

god knows you could get used to this--the new heft of some .38 heat stuck down your jeans. hell, it couldve belonged to someone’s dead grandfather
and maybe you traded a drunk a bottle of hootch for its cold oiled barrel digging into your skin.

upon contact with the revolver's worn wooden handle, your body goes electric with a great reckoning of scale: life and death shrink and grow like the plain shadow of your hand on the wood planks out back.
you imagine that the birds have stopped singing.
even the light thru the window bends away a little from this heavy thing resting with a dead weight on your thigh.

but you remind yourself that you would never actually…as you pull a long shirt down. in the mirror there is your split lip pulling into a grimace, and this slow building probability of lightning clouds in your eyes.

02 January 2009

your woman

is waiting for you with shimmering eyelids and soft plentiful body under rough cotton sheets

back home.
so why you always finding yourself here with these skinny white girls instead? they look about to disappear like thin threads of opium suspended in a dark room just before someone opens the door.
and maybe thats it--you was just dizzy with the smoke,
unable to speak once wrappd in the bony arms of these well-shod ghosts with mist shrouding their delicate painted feet.

we both know that in the end you will wind up hand- full and empty-eyed
as pale milk starts to spill in the gutter.