3 Poems for a Joshua Tree
Colour Layer 1
The barrels of branches like tree trunks,
a free-form funky desert dweller growing
in a shore, long from water discarded.
Thirsty bushels of cactus timber sipping
the Southwest in whispers of plant life.
Passwords forming ancient crosswords,
pen circled like stitched leather
memories worn soft by horseback, belt
buckle, jean loops and dream catcher.
Through soiled sand filters of beige,
brown and hot pink, a ribbon of blue
is pulled tight across a peaking range
of mountains, rock-and-boulder
around the south spots of Cali, that
landscape so still, shipless and stranded,
with a horizon as wide as a wingspan.
But then, from a finger’s release
of a shutter, the hitchhiker shoots
poor Joshua with a state-side,
In the blue-blood-orange hours before sun-up. The sky rests pulpless––liquid like
Tropicana––no clouds in the swelter. It’s cactus juice and crocus sky, the phantom of an
A lone ranger leaning left, a prophecy off-kilter, his bundles of branches pressed on an eight-by-eight-inch paper, the Mojave crown.
Clutched by side-step, square dance, the left-leading promenade with wisps of tall brown grasses bowing from the hot-breathed wind of a Patti Smith cowpoke
or a Sylvia Plath desert sleep.
Colour Layer 2
Mining minerals from glow-in-the-dark stones,
a UV Joshua swims like a cobalt cactus passing
pop rocks and fish food in a jelly sea of aloe vera.
Like a minnow fish flashes in a pond full of poison,
paint drops stick like self-tan to creased ankles,
on paper of halftones and colour-spots
as the Risograph prints a fluorescent desert storm.
Five magic mountains and seven tendrils like petrol
pipelines. Deep in tunnel vision, a man-made machine
pumps ink drum, aperture and high-speed humdrum for the
black-light blackout of a slogan city burnout. Search for sand
dollars from Atlantis, the marine metropolis. A clickbait casino,
drowning in debt of neonlights signing:
All a desert really is, is an ocean
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