Society featured

Been Drivin’ for Months Out Here

October 3, 2023

I need this desert, more than it needs me

its sound vibrating through me

the water churning

rushing down the river bed

but it was only a momentary occurrence

where did it go?

way up ahead

would western civilization be

nothing more than

a flash flood

our existence as disappeared

as an extra dimension

coiled into a superstring

tinier than a planck length

what a way to walk into oblivion

at the dimensional ends of the universal wry

i need this desert

and its endless string of days

its vast array

of heat and space and grays

the tawny brown of rolling tumbleweeds

the reds of layered soils

and the punctuating equilibrium

of the whites of the scattered bones

i have been driving for months out here

driving with an easy nonchalance

there is no innocence in my appetite

but guilt is as diffused as summer twilight

and solution as perplexing

as the physicist’s dreamworld

of a nine-dimensional universe

of superstrings and vibrating membranes

i drive with maps and guidebook

trying to understand and see

what i am missing

desert candles, horned toads, and cactus wrens

the names in english and latin

and i wonder how many romans

have legioned this way

don’t the local languages have a say

the day stretches before me with possibilities

i heard him say

i like the sound, the sense of that

in eastern washington and oregon

on the columbian plateau

the wheat fields stretch for mile after mile

with a golden glow that pleases

here in the sonoran, the land also stretches

the color sandy

spots of dark green

mile after mile

after mile

after mile.

Terry McNeely

i began writing, mostly poetry, shortly after my wife, Mickel, died in ʻ95. Death figured prominently in my thoughts, my own loss, my own alcohol abuse, the manʻs ecological destruction of a planet, the impoverishment of billions. Through these parallel dyings, i learned everything changes, there is nothing to hang onto and i came to find compassion, for myself and the larger world, and through compassion, i believe, we can find meaning in our lives, in our actions. To that end, i write. Iʻve lived most of my life in northern california, until i moved to hawaiʻi in 2003, where i live on the big island in Hilo. I have worked at various jobs, mostly USPS, but also owned a small bookstore.