saturdays they come to shoot their guns
the desert-scattered blasting spooks the dog
she's right - they can't see us, and they're careless
infinite space - spent bullets in the sand

Chunk of cholla, broken phoneme,
disjoint desert palette tooth -
sun-desiccate, wind-isolate trailspoke:
don't poke! I'm listening - take to root.

Desert-chilled, still half-asleep,
pee seeping slowly toward a shoe,
a frost of thought begins to creep -
we give for love our simple due.

The self's not real (it cannot stand),
yet life emerges unallowed.
The trickle filters through the sand,
the sunrise blurred by fertile cloud.

walking with opi between Sonoran rains

clear drops hang from palo verde twigs
bark bright green in the flat cloudlight
after the rain the airplanes return
can anyone stop the encroachment of homes?

wishing for Ginsberg's queer poet's shoulder
but that city-hermit was desperate for news
ants haphazard under rumbling skies
each spine whooshes on every saguaro

a black squall cracks out over the ridge
opi come back! - we'll be safe in the car
checking the radar on weather dot com
Cold Mountain brushed words onto rocks

quiet again, just a burst of soft hail
then a tick-ticking message comes through
harvi is limping, has a lump on her leg
if opi could know, she'd be very concerned

Weed Trees

I plod the path outside my vacant study,
clutch a hatchet's handle, and I curse.
Shrouded, shady, spreading, scruff- and scrubby
weed trees: Cut down, they come back worse.

Perhaps I planted goji (can't remember),
but what's up, chickens? Please explain your perch!
And so, today we've learned that useless timber
frolics 'til it fills the universe.

by Du Fu

Afternoon sunshine, burnished by ridge rocks,
glows on creosotes proud with recent rain.
A red jacket wavers by the barbwire fence:
ocotillo flowers floating on an outstretched branch.

Sonoran fruitflies murmur like distant voices;
hilltop saguaros cast creeping shadows.
Writing rushed by the sudden chill of darkness -
what's a word for both friend and fear?

desert poems, brian brock, 2024