Palm Springs Stories No. 1

Christmas, 2003 / No. 11

This is probably a love poem. Few are not. You, or he himself (the object)

will ply open this not especial meeting of thread and glue and, say, Irish rag (two pound weight)

? I do not decide my stock, yet this right angle where information and chewed tree and silk

agree the signature and nod, smirk, cough, think you know everything

go to hell

I am not done lying and you, or he himself, never stopped

All autobiography is travelogue, map play some of us just get around more

our beds are plains, the prickly Transvaals dotted with hoofed traffic beasts

with nautilus horns, seven legs, recessed fangs (or wings) plus voles, racing

headfirst in the underbrush humble as lint

our beach towels are as telling as dirty cafeteria trays, where monsters pool & flick

in the wet corners crusty and smelling of sour wheat

our clothes, stained & obvious as newspapers, commingle & knot make waffled

pyramids, cotton pagodas, damp lighthouses manned by dust mites

Whatever we own or caress or breathe on or slurp or pick at or bump against or visit or waste tells on us, spills the beans, makes with the goods, testifies so

I thrush to print, I publish and perish

In dynastic Egypt, words were procreative carve “snake” into a basalt block, a wall

of crisped mud, or a palm trunk & expect hisses, blinding spit expect diamond heads and pulsing chevrons the carpet viper the spotted night adder the bandy-bandy the mulga the lisping

krait the rinkhal any black and twitching scourge

we know so little magic now

R. M. Vaughan first appeared in Taddle Creek in 2000. His books include the poetry collection Invisible to Predators, the novel A Quilted Heart, and the memoir Bright Eyed. He died in 2020. Last updated spring, 2022.