John Grey • Desert Drive

The mind plays tricks, my father says.
What you see is not always
what you get.
He indicates the desert
but means the west coast.

He rambles out of
the other side of his mouth,
talks more to dust and cactus
than to me.

I'm telling him what
I plan to do with my life,
short pungent vocal jabs
with no space between
for him to interject
his sour punctuation.

He's hearing the death
of civilization
as we know it,
his boy like a stain
on a too bright window,
shucking down a hooker's
tattooed invitation
with San Francisco,
bawdy San Francisco,
as garish madam.

He's pointing out
the mirage,
bleating like a lamb of light
on the horizon's phony meadows.

I'm listening in to the ritual.
He's the stretch of barren ground
where this year's dream fulfillers
pour their empty buckets.