The death of a moon cowboy

I am a somewhat-youth with ideas and thoughts and too many dreams that sometimes overflow as these little dribblings from my fingertips. I guess you can try to collect and capture them.

Friday, April 25, 2008


The shrouded mountain
is speckled with wet white.
To the south, the sun breaks
barely below a pall of stormclouds,
lighting the faroff peaks.

A single raven hovers, flies,
wings taut and light in the wind;
it descends on a power line.
Horses stand swishing tails,
hooves caked with snow and mud.

Shifting patches of blue emerge
above the tumorous black clouds
A lone shock of thunder crumples the air,
telling of lightning too distant to see.

A century ago--two, maybe--
I would have wanted
my ashes spread here.
Over the scrub oak and boxelders, the
shimmering quaking aspens.
Over the scree slopes and layered limestone
and the valley floors below--
dust sweeping up like a sandstorm
into the thunderclouds.


Then, a decade ago,
I was doing these same things.

The bike was different,
a battered Raleigh road bike,
once-white, salvaged from a
basement junk heap. Its tires
blew out frequently.

The streets were the same--no,
different: fewer people, fewer lights
and less construction. Sections of sidewalk
all askew like shrapnel.

I lived a few blocks away.
A condo they called it (they still do),
though its plain walls and
shag carpet told a different story.

These timeless smells--
they still arise from everywhere, everything--
woodsmoke like late Placerville fall,
laundry detergent like the streets of Mazatlan;
the ripening spring air tastes of mulched leaves
and prepubescent lawns.

Funny how we can end up in these same places,
with so little changed--
even though
that life
has gone, and
a new one
is in its place.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dream, morning of April 23rd 2008

I was in a large city, and it was the end of the world. Some revolutionary forces had created a device which would end the world--it was seated in a large enclosed stadium. People were flocking to it. It was a party, an end-of-the-world party. Even the authorities were ushering people in. It was as if they were resigned to the fact that there was no stopping this device, so let's just all come experience it in a nice orderly fashion.

I went in as well, through these large, open doors, past police with nightsticks. Lights were flicking on and off. Music was thumping, the bass pounding against the metal floors and walls like some enormous rave. Debris floated in the black air. People screamed, sobbed and shouted. I saw my friend on the stairs, heading down [he looked just like my old friend Raun from high school]. There were two minutes left until the device was triggered.

"We can stop this," I said to him.


I pointed up. He followed me back up the stairs, to a ramp that wound around the inner walls of the stadium.

We ran up the ramp and finally found a short door off to the side. We went in, and found a square stairwell. We ran up and up to reach the top of the building.

[segue into new dream]

At the top of stairs I was alone. The view was open, looking over a pool in an apartment complex. There was a shootout going on. I was one of the outlaws.

I was handed a gunbelt with ammo and at least two pistols. A man filled one of the pistols with dried corn. Another gun used small corn cobs as ammo; when the gun fired it sucked through a portion of the cob and expelled. These weapons were deadly.

I shot at my enemies. I hid in shadows, guns cocked and pointed upward. At one point they drove by me, slowly, in a black SUV. A man in black sunglasses rolled his window down and sneered at me. I pointed my red corn-fed pistol at him, held it there. They drove off. I snuck back into a dark hideout where other outlaws and I swapped stories and stocked up on ammunition and rifles.

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Poetic Idol nomination

[Sorry if you've seen this posted in multiple places--I'm just really trying to get it out there!]

Some of you may know that in the past I had some success in a poetry competition.

I've been nominated again!

Since my last successes they've changed the way a poem wins. There's no single judge or team of judges doing all the work. Now the whole Artella community votes on twelve finalist poems, and the winners are based on those votes. My poem New/old (There's a Polaroid in everything) is one of those twelve finalists.

I would love it if you would participate in the voting! But don't automatically vote for mine--I want to be fair. If you can, read all twelve poems and vote for the poem you think is the real winner. If that's my poem--why thank you.

First you will need to join the Artella community by creating an account on Artella Cafe. Once you create your account, it will email you a password. When you receive the password, go log in and vote for the winning poem!

If you get a chance, please pass this information along to anyone you know who may be interested and who may have the time to do it. Voting ends May 15, at which time the winner will be chosen. Any voters I can get will help! I think there are currently only 53 total votes (as of today). The winner gets a $200 prize, along with some other stuff! So I'm excited. Please help out in the voting process. Love you all.

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If you didn't get the embedded links above, here are the links/steps to follow:

(1) Create an account here
(2) Vote for the winning poem here (you'll have to log in first)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Last night I ran, I ran all of three miles, up past Seven Peaks and the old Heritage Mountain Resort. The resort was all boarded up with plywood over the same doors we entered through only a month ago. It's impenetrable now. I'm glad we got in while we still could. I ran the upper loop of the fancy neighborhood where Seven Peaks Golf Course used to be. The houses are all new and nice, but the neighborhood appears rotting, a shambles. None of the homes have lawns or any vegetation at all really. The front yards are all dirt, mud and chunks of rock. Electrical units sticking out of the earth are broken and wires are frayed. Half of the homes are for sale, with stickers and flyers and number-filled posters taped all over the doors and windows. Some homes have Hummers and nice new trucks in the yards. One house up against the mountain has a black metal fence around a playset and basketball hoops. There's concrete, but no greenery, no yard. The end of the property just swoops down into a seemingly forgotten pit of sandy-brown earth. There's an ATV sitting unused at the edge of the property. Boxes and grocery bags and crushed grapefruit scattered the sidewalks. Weeds and thistles grow recklessly, and mounds of dirt create makeshift driveways up into the sloping foothills. To the west there was a gorgeous view of the sun lazily sinking into strips of grey clouds--this was the only redeeming beauty in the whole area, along with the close proximity to the foot of the mountain.

I ran and looked south at the Wasatch, at Mount Nebo and the snow still covering their tops and patterned down their steep sides like they were drawn in stipple. I looked at the setting sun, at the sky. I looked around at the sleeping Seven Peaks area, all lonely up there, just waiting for summertime and flocks of children and parents and teenagers to enjoy the waves and water, the chlorine and snowcones and slides. At the long-dead resort building, boarded up against vandals--though the property just sits there, wasting and decaying like an old barn, starting its third lifeless decade. It'd be better off a canvas for innocent tagging and graffiti, Harry Potter and Humpty Dumpty jokes and drawings. A cavern for pigeons. A refuge for the homeless. Everything's equally substantial, real and beckoning. It pumps my legs a little bit faster. It's all beautiful, the quiet buildings on the hill, the looming white mountains in the distance, the brilliant, darkening sky.

I left the golf course neighborhood, the sad lofty resort, and Seven Peaks behind me, ran back towards our little home closer to the old town, the real heart of the city.

My legs are still tired and sore.