Word Play

Fear Dog


In the desert there is no purpose, but there is beauty.

Beauty in desolation. There is life in the details, a thriving community in a void. In the desert the magic is strong and the horizon beats at your chest and you are not alone. The desert has afterlife appeal. The desert lives a dead mans irony. When you walk out onto the hard abused cliffs of the desert you exist in a transitory limbo. Down bellow is a world of brown heat and perceived torture. Above scrolls a vivid blue taunting you with seas of dreaming candy and swarming angels. The wind comes in waves dropping down from the skies and beats against you hard like a bully demanding his way. In your heart you know that if you step off the edge you would be swept up through space. In your mind you know the fearful truth about gravity and lead.

From that heat he emerged, exiting this land like waking eyes from a coma. His years drained, two decades fading with distance and numbed memories, His feelings shift back and forth between lap dog snapping anger and grandma nostalgia. He didn’t feel comfortable with either.

In the desert dusk he would sit exhausted from a day of breathing and would watch the sun crash into the horizon, driving earth colors etched into the sky. A reenactment of Lucifer’s fall from heaven. The beauty of the sun finally driven down into the ground by the laws of nature leaving a legacy of dark surprising cold. Even the devil was an angel once upon a time and that is a lesson one does not forget in the boredom driven chaos of the desert. It is a lesson he loves most, a simple enough black and white yin yang and it is a bed time story he told himself each night while in the desert.

He was easy to spot, huddled at cheap Jacks wringing his hands consuming the friction of self absorption, a wishful attempt to warm himself while he shivered in the desert cold. At times he saw the complexities of his imaginary substandard existence and for those moments he was bathed in royal delusions and for those moments he was sure he was important. But only for those moments and then it was all washed away in a sea of goat head land mines and single story tedium.

In the end he escaped like a fence hoping dog finally pushed by fear of brown rocks and the lost bodies he left behind who never gave him a chance to be decent. He remembers striking out at them without any explanation that he can understand. The inhabitants of the desert had become non-human. They had become less real to him as the years had passed. Every holiday winter they all seemed to be a little fainter, not the people they once were. By that last gasping summer they were no more than drying shadows after a passing monsoon. By the time he left, he wondered if they ever existed at all.

He was glad to be gone.

———
(originally written circa 1994-2002)

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