The Devil Dances on the Horizon

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In the yawn of the parched desert
A thief waits to strike the wandering souls
The broken down car, the lone hiker,
The unbalanced soul, seeking vortexes
Buried answers, buried treasures
The lost arrive, the found return
A gladiator thrown into a pit of bread and circus

Too late as a fiery hand is placed upon your eyelids
Performing ceremonies, rearranging your senses,
Stripping bones of memory and flesh
To wash in the foggy bottles of rain,
Saved from the barren rivers threaded with cottonwoods
Offering cups of shade, teatime moving with winds
Brewed by the underlings, the shadows thrown under the desert brooms,
All the invasive creatures that will not be eradicated
Empowered by disgust and neglect
Cup them in your swollen hands
For one last fight

You will win when everything is lost
So sink your toes into the surrender
Wading gently into the jaws of the horizon,
The lapping tongue and swollen tonsils, clouds wedge in your jowls
Coughing on the orange dust of sand swirl
Test the waters as you swim into a saturated sun
The prickly pear stain and crimson coated cactus slabs
The pink halo blooms and fiery cholla globes, torching an entrance
Crawl through the window shards
Your ticket will be taken as you find your seat,
While the clever thief strips you of your desires and sight,
Narrowed down to one, unquenchable craving
Delirious upon the realization you will be erased

You consider the consumption
To roam the expansive halls of limestone and quartz,
To rest your bones on the warm rocks, sharing space with reptiles
Your fingers dragging along the smooth stone,
Shaped by the potterโ€™s wheel of time
Allowing spirits to finger your pockets,
Pull your insides, leaving entrails as a warning to others
Milky white skulls, home to the skins of shedding snakes
You have entered the arena unprepared
Staring at the devil on the horizon
Wishing you wore your dancing shoes.

-S. S. Hicks

 

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17 thoughts on “The Devil Dances on the Horizon

  1. Brilliant again, DD! Have you ever read a book called Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru? It’s set in the Mojave Desert and is kinda about all the various people who have lived on or visited the desert, and how the desert incorporates their beliefs and changes them. The desert is a major character in the book. For some reason this poem brought it back to mind – I suspect you might enjoy it.

    1. Thank you, FF! I have heard of this book, but I haven’t read it. I am very interested the sudden! You’re like chocolate for my TBR list… I’m always adding! But always good stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This reminded me of “The Milagro Beanfield War”. The opening scene when the Coyote Angel comes to Milagro, New Mexico. I love how you take the Southwestern language and the images and make them sing. One of the reasons I love your pieces is that you make me want to be a better writer. I read your poems and I go wow. Gee, I am going to have to work harder to keep up with her. I would love to read a piece, sharing your journey to becoming the poet you are. In this one, I especially love these two lines:
    You will win when everything is lost
    So sink your toes into the surrender…
    When I do that, that is when the inspiration really comes. Thanks for another poem. Brought tears to my eyes because I do love the Southwest.

    1. Thank you kindly, Don. And for reminding me about that scene in The Milagro Beanfield War. It was long ago I watched that… I’m pretty surprised at how much I enjoy writing poetry. It was an evolution, beginning last year, and in great part to you, and the blogging community, always encouraging me. Writers flourish amongst other writers. Perhaps it’s worthy of a piece… ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Reading this, my mouth is dry, my throat parched, and I could easily do with a tall cool drink of water! Beautifully detailed, DD. Your imagery of the dancing shoes somehow seems most fitting!

    1. Thanks, Debbie. This was inspired by a great thirst, as I hiked in 96 degrees, getting caught up in taking photos, so I’m glad it came across. Also in the news here recently a 72- year-old woman got lost in the desert for 9 days and survived on plants and a running stream before she was rescued. Time to be careful!

  4. What an incredible accomplishment when you can take your readers into the desert to make them truly feel it. As you know, I am partial to the desert and I’ve certainly got an impression of this one. Excellent!

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