Simon Perchek

*

You send your hands across but the light
stops in time --to the end
you never hear its screech
and though the wind returns from just so far

your hands are raining --they remember
when once the sun broke loose
and everything on Earth, even these stones
sang to call it back --a soft rain

holding on to that light the sun
still retrieves :each morning an ancient lullaby
thriving on the sun --you still keep
a small bulb lit and facing north

guiding the sun --still sit alone
at a table, at a come here
and lead your hands across the same light
that throws the moon on its side

--you reach for darkness everywhere
trust this distance racing toward you
--at every window you become weightless
and the wall still warm

pushing each star back to one another
--you fill your hand
with another hand, with singing, a light
almost asleep, closer and closer.


*

You tried to say, Send distances
missing all these years --words
don't need a mouth
for a landmark --they find their way
through stones in riverbeds
in old bread that has your soft voice
your drifting away, hands closed.

It's not a particular bird
that the bath in the backyard
thaws and the water in your lips
becomes dark red :a great wave
come back from somewhere far
sweeping away and in my arms

--I send you distances --one by one
one from this bird, one from
these few seeds
and I am over the world
feeding the world through Spring
through its Winter.

You tried to say and this birdbath
whose stones still damp from the beach
huddle --I drink from here
as in a small cemetery
after a warm rainfall and my mouth
fills with flowers and distances.

Carly Pribyl

A Short Essay on Desert Living

I.
You can’t imagine the kinds of things that live in the desert. Sharp, scaly rocks of things. Wet, globular clouds that shimmy across concrete. These things are like yeast, lying dormant until brick-oven heat whittles their shape. They burrow in the skin beneath your fingernails.

II.
Everything I own is packed. Everything I own has been divided and packed into twelve boxes. The boxes sit in the corner of a living room, inside a tract house. I don’t own the tract house.

I spend a lot of time trying to remember what is in each box. Books in the bottom five. Pictures and bedding in the middle four. Wine glasses and kitchen knives in the top three.

The middle four trip me up. I think I’m failing to account for something. It’s everything I have not to tap out one of the boxes like a Jenga block and rip it open at the flanks to check.

III.
I have never seen hours move this slowly. In the desert, time is dead.

I sleep in the sun. Let it rip my skin at its seams, boil out an Irish girl’s desperate tan. Nevada sun is wicked. Maybe the balance to California’s honey-spitting version. It dances between the deadly and the spiritual; in the desert, you are always poised between death and godly epiphany.

IV.
I decide the purpose of my being in the desert is to find a way out.

In the morning there is hope; I scour the internet for jobs in San Diego, Boulder, and Portland. It wanes at noon; I run countless miles, chiseling legs to flee on foot (should it come to that). In the evening I am faithless; I mix vegetable juice with vodka and cross my eyes at the Martha Stewart granite floors.

V.
Months masquerade as decades in the desert. I’m hired out of state four months after I arrive.

I can start next week, I tell them. They ask, don’t I need time to pack my things? No.

Heat is rising off the ground in visible waves the day I leave. Like water running over glass. Nauseating. My boyfriend helps load a (small) U-haul trailer. I carry a garbage bag of broken things to the curb. An empty bottle shard pokes through the plastic. It digs deeply into my right calf. I bleed everywhere.

My boyfriend argues with me about the Las Vegas emergency room. No. We’re losing time. I pull vodka out of a small cooler and drain it over the wound. I create a paper-towel bandage, seal it with electrical tape.

The U-haul bounces-a giant tin can-as we exit the desert. I am only vaguely aware of leg-blood pooling beneath the tape’s adhesive, dripping down the dash.

Adam Moorad


l'├ętranger

lick old albert camus photos:

you see him with this long coat

standing in a doorway, his collar up

smoking gitanes, looking french

thus impossibly sang-froid to someone

from the backass american whateverness


el camino real

a pale victorian ghost-child
i rarely leave the house
so i have no lungs for action

i've noticed in the last ten or twenty years
i've slipped into horrible tabloid-fuelled puritanism
whinging white-haired into a hollywood buttocks