I. The Road



Swiss army knife by the Colorado Chiquito.

Wallet in a tavern Coeur d’Alene.

Frying pan near campground washroom Flaming Gorge.

Good insulated gloves a daytime snowsquall,

in the scree field Jasper Peak.

Lost things. Things misplaced,

a moment put aside and then forgot. Now Shiprock disappears,

Tohatchi, Mexican Spur... Brimhall also gone.

The turn to Chaco Canyon.





                  dire wolf skulls

                                    barbed wire breasting the sage





                                    Mercy wears thin

                  at 65, rooting the

                                    peach tree orchards out.





                                    Our Pleistocene

                  manners our

                                    roadkill headlights.




II. Chorus



Eighteen miles of mountain road

fifteen miles of sand,

ever I travel this road again I’ll be a married man.

Over Ute Mountain blue thunderclouds,

yellow lightning ploughing the gorge.

Why do we handle people rough? Take the same wrong turn

again? And foolish human never learns.

Everywhere you go it’s people die, not crickets.

Crickets never die, just people.

De Angulo heard the sharp refrain.

Old as ice it’s in his book.

Humans got regret. Not magpie.

Wisdom old as ice.

A hunch’d locust drags along the dried up creek.

Grasshopper returns when sun gets hot.

Not people. Grasshopper always

coming back.

People just head west.




                  chewing at the tape deck

                                    like a worn out clutch.






                                    Pasu’ wi’noghan!

                                                      wind stirs the willows

                                    the cliffsides ringing...






                                    Ghost dance songs




III. Dates



              1963                        1952                        1917



Years of the twentieth century

scratched on Chaco cliff with careless hand.

Did highschool kids in love

make trouble with the law, get sent to war?

like I saw friends in sixty-eight?

And marked the date with Arab numbers in New Mexico?

Now peach tree orchard, willow also gone.

But glance across where horseshoe canyon wavers dust &

shivery daytime heat––



                                                      Old journey spirals up on rock ––

                                    spooky people figures

                                                      with curl-horn sheep.




IV. Roadhouse Blues






The roadhouse sign is scraped and cracked––

                  coffee thin in dirty cups––

                                    was Albuquerque once like this––?

Trading whiskey for a good unbroken pot.



What dried it up? What made them leave?

Cliff-top signal fires give a clue.

A hundred thousand trees for lumber Chaco Canyon.

Water channeled from the rim above. And in the Great Kiva

who wore copper beads? Did macaw feathers come

by pack from Yucatan?

Along the creek––ghost creek now––

a lover plays his turkey leg-bone nose flute.

Ghosts make love in creekside rushes,

inventing poems where ghost birds stride on

heron legs.



                                    You keep score––

                  tossing for luck

                                    beneath the









V. The Petroglyphs



We watched it lurch through windswept rock

a squared off fifties Chevy wagon

pecked from yellow sandstone. Ranger told us vandals put it there.

Three modern girls wandered into rock

twenty thousand moons ago.

A piece of junk’d graffito? back through years to Vietnam?

Now their vulvas look like clamshells.

High up the cliff a horn-head figure sets its

eye on other years.

A simple rite,

                  to set in stone––

the great kiva stretches overhead.






                                    Study the million highway stars

                  lovers gone or dead

                                    on every road.




VI. Anasazi Rock



That’s why I came this road

beneath sharp stars

where jimson weed and sand-burrs grow––

to find her rope-like hair

hair like rope, like grass, like jimson weed

ghost hair sifting through my hand. And watched

celestial figures mount the sky.

A black braid like a living ghost across the map.

Recall it falling through.  The desert sky.

One more love gone down to join old thoughts.

And insects whispered through the night

                  it’s all a rite.





                                    What game

                  desert tortoise

                                    did you play me for







                  all night in ponchos

                                    getting what sleep we can.




VII. Blue Roads



The great kiva

                  Chaco Canyon

wind whispering all night

past the dumpsters––

A storage pit

high along the shadow’d cliff. Where two of us went down.

She went down. I went down. Stars went down.

Under rock or earth.

Nipples faint as apricot.


What Anasazi rock released the need?

desire drive the star-flung sky?

a nation wracked with ghosts begin its dance?

The great kiva stretches overhead.

The constellations arch with scattered love it

bends the human spine––

and funny what we need the

maps don’t show.

Just gasoline, toilets, towns with bitter distant names.

                  Trucks that ride blue roads.






                                    Anasazi rock

                  grinding down the years

                                    trucks that ride blue roads.