Further! Adventures on the Mojave Trail – Boundary Cone the Spirit Mountain


Boundary Cone the Spirit Mountain


the Quebrada family
fought against the gringos during the Spanish-American war
they lost all their land in the outcome

despite the resentment
los Quebrada held against the gringos
Ortíz remained optimistic

he left Mexico to pursue the North American dream
little did he realize his job at the steam plant would be the sum
of his New World achievements; and that, one of constant short-changes in salary and privileges

when work permitted
he shared stories of quixotic adventures
he vowed true; in the foothills of the Black Mountains

one eerie tale was a mystical sort
in the heart of a crag the Mohave Indians called Spirit Mountain:
known to European settlers simply as the Boundary Cone
used by the local  farmers to survey the division
between the Mesa and the river sloughs

the sagebrush lined washes and escarpments
rose to a large point where the rhino horn-shaped rock met the sky
transported by the silhouette of the peak
I became mesmerized

what adventures could one have on this barren hill?

Further! Adventures on the Mojave Trail – Ortíz Quebrada


Ortíz Quebrada


the steaming power plant is a roar of lights whistles and screeching valves
the glitter of a thousand incandescent bulbs shed a purple-yellow glow
from the base of the unit to the very top like a giant monochrome
Christmas tree

the sound of a hundred steam and air driven systems assaults the senses
whissh rrrummmhhhummm humm hummm: the deafening strum
of an orchestra tuning up in an enharmonic clinch
the hair stands on end at the back of my neck

Ortíz closes the drawer of his desk and unlocks the security door
slightly built with wavy hair and a mustache that bristles before he speaks
he boasts the Spanish accent of the Americas

Buenos dias! Or, should I say
‘Good night’?”—a little night shift humor
“By the way” without a pause
“One of the mechanics got the boot last night.
Got caught asleep on the job
for the second time! Heh heh”

the small stove holds a charred pot
the coffee stale and burnt
“Fresh pot, Ortíz!”
“Sorry ‘bout that” he readies for the end of the shift
“You know how hectic it gets ’round here”
I empty the pot of black syrup
into the yawning gape of the sink

“You might as well go home!” I finish the coffee duty
walk behind a rack of chain hoists and monkey wrenches
sort through invoices and tares

“I’m here!” I call to the night
another evening in the hollows
of the electric machine

On the Road to Satori – Bridgeboro


hitchhiker by throwingtwixbars



so here I am
standing on this cold
pavement just west of Bridgeboro
where I once swam in a sea
of confused euphoria
bliss/LSD parties
at Hoegstrom’s
—a tryst in the closet
on a three-by-six mattress

her father—
nose and cheeks bruised
by years of heavy drinking
burst blood vessels feverish bowels
yelling “knock it off in there
you two!” over the noise
of The Moody Blues
…come, ride my seesaw

I met up with some old friends
and spent a week in town

and nearly landed a job
but lost it when I blurted out in
pure angelic sincerity I would
only stay long enough
to get the money
to travel on

my friends left me with
a handshake and twelve dollars
in a creased envelope—alms for
the vagabond drifter

so here I am
headin’ down the road once more
staring at the sleet and cold rain; disillusioned
at the world and its empty values and screwed up
demands on a young man barely
able to hold down
a job

The Pneumatic Steampunk Doorway – Notes from the Graveyard



steampunk dragon door environment by falconssj

Notes from the Graveyard

there’s a wonderful feeling
one gets while running on idle
through the A.M.

a light-headed
floating feeling; at peace
with one’s surroundings

the quiet mouse foraging
behind shelves and cabinets
peering as two long legs
dangle from the swivel-back chair
spinning its legs in high gear in a slipping
sliding mad dash across the aisle-way

…the soft cascade
of cooled air billowing
from the evaporators

the intermittent clink
and jangle of a machinist’s

the steady
of the turbines
as they suck steam
and fry their output lines
eating up copper conductors and relays
boosting to switch-yard transmission lines

…on their way to the coast


I wore my suit and tie
like a Bodhisattva wears his robes
my wingtips his sandals

I drove my Mercedes C-Class
like an ox cart and read scripture as some
revere Kerouac; or Ginsberg

all these became in me
I thought—the markings
of a spiritual man

where some climbed mountains
in Sherpa chhuba; or crossed desert in Bedouin thawb
I walked sidewalks in Armani chic

as those who chant
mantras into the wind; I spoke “truth”
(into the wind) for no one listened

and the sun set
and the sun rose
and I woke up



…and a Circle-K


and Cow Rock City awakens
the streets fill with four-wheel-drives
camper vans

half-dressed in
swim trunks

no shirts

“whatever keeps you cool
man!” passing beers back and forth
as they cross the river from
casino boat docks

free ferry rides
to gambling halls’
cheap dinner buffets
and slot machines
waiting to swallow up
your coins

american-cheese restaurants
cheap motels
…and a Circle-K

On the Road to Satori – Melancholia

1958 vw microbus by harrietsfriend


we heard
of a woodstockesque music-fest
playing in Austin

when we got there
the tickets had sold out
so we stood outside in the rain
the gray clay mud sticking to our boots

we took refuge
in Rodrigo’s Volkswagen bus
singing and playing on a borrowed guitar
I improvised in John Lee Hooker time
Jones on the harp in the key of blue
and Rodgrigo slapping the beat
on his jeans

… melancholia’s killing me”

Jones and I
wound up hitchhiking back
to San Antonio waiting for a ride
near a Church’s Fried Chicken

the counter guy yelled
through the take-out window
“hey you guy’s hungry?” and handed
us two cartons of chicken
“Happy Thanksgiving”

we had totally forgotten!
we just knew we were cold
wet and hungry—so thank you
Mr. Church’s Fried Chicken man
somewhere outside Austin may
you be repaid in triplicate
for your act of kindness
to two cold and lonely

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