(big)horns

that red scent
from before, cut across the weedy pines

footprints from before, however long ago
maybe an hour, maybe millenia

the scent remains, consequence of time
what was lost there, what wore hooves

Decorated with girthy horns
the cornucopia biologico

and the bristled muzzle, teeth too
would speak no secrets of the sheath

or how they mounted, step by step
the cliff side miles

to taste the leafy wonder of the climb
however long

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A Native

This place, this now, you can see it

you can see what it is too, beside

the quiet border you trace around it

this is a home town too, among other things

among everything else. I was born here, 

in this empty lot, that was a hospital

in a room with one rectangular window 

packed with people I would never see again,

including my mother. Cities are cruel that way

but not all together so, there is a mother here

in the rubble and the dust, and as far 

as I ever got I came back to it, 

I learned to love it

to love myself in it. 

The west was won in a saloon

over a poker hand 

and a screaming slot machine. 

This place remembers even the drinks that were spilled 

the out turned pockets, and moment before 

the wheel stopped turning and any number 

was a winner, you had to pick one was all, 

and you did, because the charm was ammonia 

on a weary life. There was beauty in it, and I 

can remember coming home over the valley to 

an oasis of light. The stars were false

but the city was true, I felt it then, a fortune 

of gaudy joy, be this city, it said to me, 

and I was, suddenly and always a native. 
–ECW

Mojave 

A desert underneath

The crooked line that makes the shore

Which calms and curls the sand back

To an image of itself.

The winding pull of water still

Remembers every grain of sand

It’s hot rough essence, the quiet still

At the bottom of the current

On the crest of a dune. It calls out

With a winded hush, what matters now 

Is water, what has always been, 

what will never be

Enough. A desert underneath, 

takes time to quench. 

Desert Poem – Joshua Song

painting by catherine jennings

Joshua Song

I can still hear the ocean from the brush
a low hollow whirr, bent over blowing
on its back; a despicable thud coming from
deep, the caliche hums, secret reserve
water table bubbles, the desert awake
with the sound of rain – {finally} rain!
but the sand slaps back a symphony clap
hard from ten thousand nights rind dry
unaccustomed to moisture the desert resists
& the water is whisked off to lower ground
but down below, where the silt has drunk
its fill of ancient quench and slept for centuries
I can still hear the ocean, from the cacti
rinsed, swelling fruitful spines, barrel
rolled open the Joshua trees with arms
Spread out—sing the Mohave a lullaby
Like a wind chime, every drop a note
On their shingle pines; I can still hear
the ocean, from all that time ago

—ECW