Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Williams Island

A crook in the stone wall, that escarpment gate inhaling one beaten river, a dirt pile from a thousand floods. It's good dirt. Like Nile-borne soil falling out of the Tennessee. It's in the middle of town, and almost no one lives there. From the middle of the squash field, the night hums and the rising fog glows. Invisible barges rumble past goats and treehouses, the forest natives, the river people living on. Praise the bridge that never was.

Friday, July 9, 2010


The sun comes up behind the hills in the haze, a fiery ball bent through the air. Later it nuked the water from the leaves and came in heated steam cells with lightning and thunder. At last, a proper storm.

Padgett Ridge TN

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Joy Division says dance to the radio. The Protestants say don't dance. Well we all have to grow from something. Amazing how the oldest things come from the roughest places. Meanwhile, Tennessee is so green I can hardly breathe. Good, the sparkling beetles hovering up from the grass, the blinking green of the undergrowth. But this juniper on its tenacious rootpress cracked into the Navajo dune rock, nourished by the crypto, it's on the other side of the world. The other side of the plains. Somehow the same country, but in a very different universe.

Left bank, Cane creek

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rock Art

"This was alien writing." Kyle pointed us up to Courthouse Wash, where parties unknown tried to scrub away the record of inhabitants here from before memory. They're faint, graffitied, just shining out above the highway. Jackal heads silently leer at our alien craft below. They hadn't planned on cars, but it's not likely that they're surprised. "With exhaust and dust and everything else, these will be gone soon. People think they last forever, but this is a different place." Back in Tennessee, an old friend makes it with concrete. Here the patient rock paintings are tucked into caves for safekeeping, hidden by dark from newer time. It's all there. You just have to look.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Aux Arcs

They're ancient. Humps left over from a few collisions ago, episodes of mountain-crashing old enough to leave remains in the deep flat heart of the continent. Where the Red Fern Grows. The hills the French said were "With Rainbows" before we purchased Louisiana. Fair deal, since they threw in the Ozarks. Magic. Craig says his one-stop is the "entire sum total of town." Enough hollows and junctions to tuck a menagerie of back porches with gas pumps and bakeries. The drive-by berry picking ain't bad either.

Fallsville, Arkansas

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Not tanks. Harvesters make twilight war on the panhandle, western edge of the former seabed. Everything between here and Arkansas was once a giant buffalo and camel ranch. Now the staples come through the pipeline. Welcome to the next 24 hours at 70 per.

Guymon, Oklahoma