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.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

wyoming pictures

I recently put up our photos from our Wyoming trip in July this year. Some of my favorites are below. Check out my photostream or the photoset.

the wandering bison

morning glory pool

clepsydra geyser in the sun

window cross silhouette

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I can hardly make out the stars,
melted away by the vaporous streetlight haze.
Machinery pounds and pummels somewhere distant,
repetitive, like garbage trucks emptying overflowing
dumpsters again and again.

The train hoots and calls, parades down the old tracks
like some giant steel owl
gliding through the night,
under bridges paralleling the industrial blocks,
past the lake--stealth, honing in like a bat.

Black branches rustle, blown into small
battles with each other. The wind silently
winds through blades of grass, it
sails over the innumerable lookalike rooftops
and rattles roadsigns.
It pushes at my back, soars into my mouth
and eyes;

it rushes into my veins and carries me,
lifting me high over the speckled city--
all pretentious and illuminated like a great
connect-the-dots below.
I look above me
and I can see the stars.

--- ---

I wrote this a while ago, 2009-03-26.

amy, above the wind
perched away from the wind

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Simpson Springs

The dead predawn has snuffed out all life,
all sound,
the centurial dirt road torn into the
desert below is littered with a thousand
hoofprints, trampled and endless and eroded,
a shrine to an age and an instinct
from which we're far removed--which we
ourselves removed and polished and placed shardlike
in houses and museums, books and display cases.
Memories so sharp and honed they draw blood.

Slept with the tips of Cassiopeia's W facing left;
woke and she was right. Slept and
watched the world rotate round on the north star
like spinning a plastic globe;
woke and watched the liquid midnight velvet drain
the sky, disappearing stars hidden only by glare,
Capella the last to exit.

The desert slowly steadily stirs,
no memory, just now,
just a robe of filtered sunlight capping
eastward hills and highlighting butte and rock
and military runway.

The wooden walls of the restored station creak and shake in
the heat of the morning sun. The real ruins tell
their own story with crumbling stone and foundation--
tell of death in place of birth, abandonment and
decay, a man left a widower in a harsh world
when life was more fragile, more visceral--
the liminal space between the dead and living thin
and vulnerable.

We put our hands into the old old dirt,
finger the coarse bits of gravel weathering
from the slight hillside.
Our pores are pockets for the windblown dust,
red and pale and dun, flown in from the brine
left by ancient Lake Bonneville--its salt,
the earth's salt, mixing with our salted skins,
marking us, painting us all as one, a
living mineral touched by and breathing each
element. Mutual symbiotes, products of one another.

We have always been dependent
on these stars, this dirt, these trampled roads.
The orange lights of Dugway may shine at midnight,
the desert may erupt and the earth tremble as the
army tests ballistics during midday,
but nothing has changed.
We are still here, still the same;
like cells crawling a continuous membrane
we are minute and indistinct
yet one and the same.

The sunlight breaks the hills and heats stone and sand
and throws our shadows long like darts cast
across the plane of the world, and our cracked
lips curve and turn upward and bare teeth
and tongue, eyes slit and creased
and noses upturned we breathe and taste the salt,
taste it with every wild heaving breath.

--- ---

sunrise awakening
sunrise over simpson buttes

that road
pony express trail looking at the dugway range

life among death
desert flowers

--- ---

This was all inspired by or about Simpson Springs, an old Pony Express station out in the west Utah desert where Jarom and I camped last September on our way to the geode beds. There's just something about the desert . . . Written between 20090326 and 20090404.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Today I explored. I stood on top of this small hill over Soldier's Pass in the southeast Lake Mountains. Here's what I saw:

soldier's pass, southeast lake mountains

It was really beautiful out there. My complaints: too much trash--people seem not to care about the west desert; it's simply dumped anywhere they can let it go. Also, too many shooting relics: shotgun shells, bullet shells, broken and unbroken clay pigeons. The land is still beautiful. Let us try to keep it that way.

Here's where I witnessed it:

View 2009.07.05 rockhounding, exploring in a larger map

other things I saw today:

graffiti train, spanish fork, utah
the graffiti train

open house
a house for sale

west mountain
West Mountain lookin good

the wasatch from the west side of utah lake
the Wasatch front from the west side of Utah Lake

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Watched him and his children play
on bikes in wet streets--
a father in his twenties,
everything new and achievable.
A wide world and invulnerable.
That's me,
years past and ahead.
Trying to steady every memory
balanced like a baby in my hand
just so I don't forget.

Moments flow past
like rain slicked across oil on those rainy streets,
those hills by the park where I played baseball each year,
where snow hardly fell but when it did we
stood by the woodstove later with soaked jeans
and makeshift sleds, red fingers and hands.

These thoughts crowd my mind,
rising like an insurgence that must be quelled
and filed orderly into cells,
where generations later they can be
recalled skeletal,
like a young boy's remains
finally found in the desert.

Because they hurt they are so filled with love,
and life is swift and unmediating,
and sometimes we're carried up in the immediacy of
it all, every year, then it's just a blurred stream
and all i want is the swallowing hug of a five-year old girl,
all i want is to tousle sunbleached hair
and explain the curiosities of spiders.

--- ---

These thoughts and more occurred to me early a recent morning. When I get less sleep I'm actually more artistically inspired.

riding away

Monday, June 01, 2009

Like a flock of dying birds

The crane obscures the skyline, looming, like
the handle of some blade plunged into the land.
Capital letters blocked out:

Its tower rises, beam by straight steel beam, each day
edging out the Wells Fargo and Marriott buildings,
occupying space where oldfashioned street-level stores once stood.

This lattice of rust-colored, slotted metal
coagulates skyward--
a mounting illness, redeemed only
by the wooden walkway bypass below,
draped in ephemeral idealist artwork.

The hook at the crane's end like a
lost shipwreck anchor sways oblivious
in the dead night air,
oblivious to we who walk below, we who'd rather not
look above and stare

except to watch the clouds gathering
over the little city
like a flock of dying birds.

--- ---

construction crane on zions bank tower, provo

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How one day a creek became an ocean

When the sun had hardly broken
and underfoot the dirt was cool,
the tireless echo of water flowing
stole my sleep
(pouring and writhing over travertine,
tearing it apart while building it),
woke me before all
the others. The river brown and thick,
the broken branches gathered in smooth eddies.
At the foaming crest
a barrel cactus and dead prickly pear,
thousands of footprints cast in the sand
next to mine. Centered in the current downstream
a remnant of yesterday's makeshift bridge--
a half-submerged picnic bench, mummified
in cottonwood leaves and stringed with sediment.
A hundred devastating feet of the essence of
the desert, its fury distilled, passionate and
heedless, happy and calm in all its eons of
crafting and molding.
Somewhere a gas stove whispers and lights,
soft voices murmur and bodies stir awake
another day.

--- ---

Watched small, clear Havasu Creek turn into a raging flooded river one day in August last year. I wrote about it while watching Jarom at his tumbling class on March 24th.

See all the Havasupai photos.

before, looking over Havasu Falls from above it
looking down on havasu falls [i]

after, the following morning
the falls after the flood

watching the water run thick

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We walked in during dawn,
red rays on red walls, some
sliver of ancient creation--
desert then and now.
Until the layers gave way to white,
seething toward the sky like teeth,
fangs, an unforgiving world painted
in contrasts. The determined
juniper and sage sprout, unquestioning,
humble plants with little to offer but life.
Below the peak, in folds of
fragmented sandstone, are small
potholes and tanks. In one,
the pale belly of an inverted
lizard faces up, still--
if not for the dark of the water its
white underside would appear
part of the rock itself.

--- ---

In early March, we hiked in Snow Canyon. Brandon and I scaled white sandstone on the White Rock Trail, up into wind and butterflies and scant water.

I wrote this (like the last one) on the lift at Sundance in my little notebook, then transcribed to typewriter, then to here.

this is the tank where we found the dead lizard
pothole / tank

Friday, March 20, 2009

Above over it

Aspen and spruce shadows juxtaposed over
torn white, crumpled ice and snow
and geometric lines and curves like so many
jetplane contrails converging.
Denuded branches reach upwards desperately,
suckling sunlight,
oblivious of the SLOW signs and
fenceposts and the rushing, arcing onslaught of bodies.

Soaring silent over it all, supported by
massive green steel columns,
I look down and it all
lies there beneath my dangling feet,
blooming, static and stagnant
yet somehow unfolding below, scenes and layers
in the snow;
I hover quietly
and reach the summit.

--- ---

Many snowy days were spent at Sundance this season, and each time I was inspired to draw, write, or just think. I first wrote this on the lift in my small notebook (which Bella got me for Father's Day last year), then transcribed it on my typewriter, then re-transcribed it here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The red stain

On the ankle of an old sock,
faint and red like sandstone dust,
a borrowed climbing shoe left its mark,
its memory, a reminder of that night
in December when it snowed silently,
and we stole some midnight
hours in the closed gym--
lights on, music roaring,
we scaled artificial walls and laughed
and discussed the future and his
impending departure to warmer climes--
a relocation to the western coast,
divided by scales of land and road,
desert and mountain ranges and
straight-on highways that
connect us like
pinpricks of light in a grand global constellation.

--- ---

In late December a good friend of mine moved away. Beforehand we spent some good time together--some of it climbing at The Quarry in Provo. He's an expert climber and showed me a thing or two. One night we climbed alone until 3 am, enjoying each other's company before he moved on to a different part of his life.

Monday, February 09, 2009

And so the new world

And so the new world
chases balls down the street,
searches the distant sky with manmade probes,
follows small gangs of revolutionaries
cross-globe to other small events--
all of it tiny leaps and plunges in a universal heartbeat
that doesn't seem to matter to anyone,
but over time amounts to all that should matter.

It sews synthetic hammocks and
sleeps during the day,
diurnal life inverted. It
opens its eyes at night and
sees only voices,
synethetic hallucination.

It wears a turban over a yarmulke,
bakes in the sun,
skin black as night and white as daylight,
as varied as its own terrain,
desert and frail rainforest,
tundra and mountain and valley--
lightning synapses firing perfectly
in an imperfect world,
an ellipsoid world
barrelling slowly toward eternity.

And so the new world
finds hope in a new symbol,
a stranded figurehead strapped about with ancient chains,
laden with filled crates,
noosed at the wrist and ankle--
only this silvertongued magician
has the key.

--- ---

A bit of a strange, random poem that came to me quickly. It may seem meaningless on the surface, but it's rife with meaning--at least to me. It was partially inspired by a trip my siblings took to Obama's inauguration toward the end of January. So humor me by letting me post this.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's ended

It's ended.
The place has mostly cleared out.
The gutters are slick with ice,
running still like glacier rivers.
A pall of fog enshrouds us
like God's great frozen breath,
bringing us in-doors where
thermostats control our hearts.
We're the warm-blooded.
Couples trickle off the streets,
clopping shoes across sidewalks,
echoes absorbed in the smoked air.
The wooden walkway
astride the new tower lot
is lit, staggered every six feet,
adorned with college student artwork
and empty.

The few cars drive off, and as their
motors die in the distance
the orange lights hum still,
singing their silent song to
everyone and no one at all.

--- ---

The other night I went late to an open mic poetry reading at the slick Pennyroyal Cafe. I arrived thirteen minutes before it ended, ready with poems printed and in my journal. But it was ending early, and I stayed seated. I wrote this in my journal afterwards. I also drew a picture of a chair.

--- ---

an example of some of that college student artwork--this is the first piece that graced the walkway

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wolf moon

We drifted silently over the hills,
following the dead glare of our headlights.
Sirius and Rigel rotated slowly and swiftly
and the sapphire heavens blazed, lit and soaked
in midnight blue by the full wolf moon.

Sometimes an eastbound car passed us; but no one else
headed west, not in this clear January emptiness,
not through these tired towns and blackened cafes,
abandoned trucks parked on abandoned roads.

Thin layers of icecaked snow coated the distance
over the little summit passes, made it all radiate moonlight
upward, reflective like the quiet rearview mirror.

A long sailing string of light burnt downward, headed west
like us, a fuse firing toward an unknown end.
This common meteor, caused by some unremarkable fragment
of rock, briefly outshined our moon
and illuminated the endless road ahead of us.

--- ---

For Christmas I got a typewriter from Joey and Emily. Joey suggested keeping it in my car so I could be a traveling writer, Jack Kerouac, whenever I wanted to. I took his suggestion. Then on this beautiful January-thaw day I got in my car, rolled the windows down, lugged the old machine like a bulky steel laptop into the front seat with me and began jabbing away at the keys. Just to get anything down, anything at all, because lately I've been less motivated or too busy or whatever and nothing much creative has poured forth from my fingers. So this here's my Wolf moon poem I hammered out, based on our spectacular winter midnight drive across Utah and Idaho and Oregon to Bend for one all-too-brief weekend. The original is cut and pasted in my journal. I retyped it to post here.