Default World Volume II, No. 1

Humanity has been cuckolded,
translucent intentions
cling to their sparkle
like a sea anemone
does to the ocean floor.

But we’ve given in
to the Disney plots
and chorus lines.
Sopping wet with fear,
we’re a rabid species now.

We get off on concussions
and botched nose-jobs,
we break every mirror in the house
with ill-willed flicks of our wrists;
we climax with selfie-sticks.

We’re sick with voyeurism.

It’s going to take more
than a few one-liners,
basement-lit hits
of coke and nicotine,
choking down Hennessey,
shoulder rubs from strangers,
and bad sushi
to forego the eruption:

time is the thread with which
I’ve weaved this dream
and I am slack-lining
the tension

with veins pulsing
with intention
and an ego
the size of Mt. Vesuvius’
holy chant.


Chastise me with EMFs
I’ve been asleep for too long
Fog horns melt into tectonic shrieks
My DNA’s been spliced ten million times

I call for Buddha
I pray to an eight-legged beast

moon-skies split and beget mantras
in all of the languages I never learned to speak

200 years of war
Gods never rise to the occasion
Four generations of genetically-inherited
Fear collecting in the world’s kinetic mud-fields

Egregious tantrums
The Great Mother has swallowed enough

disillusionment and decay
draped in doom
and hollow-hearted
to the mindless drones

I blame the lack of grass beneath my feet
The tangled yo-yo           lying in the gutter

Meet Me

Meet me between the dust waves,
the broken sound barrier,
the naughty hymen of life,
where we’re betrothed
to our demons,
and theorized in sun-lit verses.

Meet me beneath support beams,
gnarled fingers of charred wood,
a witch’s crooked hand,
a malice-filled smirk slapped
across the moon’s face,
a glow in its belly.

Meet me below the inky shadows,
wine-veined and sleepy,
meet my lips with yours,
wrap your acid-limbed body
across the velvet sheets
of solace and mayhem.

Meet me:
triangulate our whispers–
swallow my

Join me:
chain links
of hedonism
and wind-chapped


The “default world” is what we call our everyday, normal life. We work, we pay bills, we drive cars not designed as animals and mythical creatures. And we love, we lose, we survive.

Many pieces here are about being in the default world, while the Playa awaits our return…

The air molecules gravitate,
they lock eyes, their
words are breathy,
fearful and less,
and more wrought
with rhythm and blues,
oh so many blues.

It was like the week
I began reading
a collection of odes
to blue.

Page to page,
cover to cover,
left lobe
to right.

“Too much blue
for one woman,”
I had said.

Too much non-blue
for one soul,
guitar riffs
like tongue caresses.
Your ghost,
attached to bars
of music.

I yank my hearing
as if I caught
myself listening
to past records
of oos and ahhs,

coded to your
the length
of your wave,
etched in color:


The Temple of Promise V

The fifth haiku written for the Temple of Promise. Here, I am examining the lines of text I remember writing on the Temple walls, my notes that burned with countless other notes. I wrote a secret, a farewell, and two hellos. When the smoke billowed from the Temple, all these words transformed. 

Where across your bare

skin did you brandish my sin?

It vanished with you.

The Temple of Promise III

Photo courtesy of

This is the third piece in the haiku collection dedicated to this year’s Temple of Promise.

As I have expressed once before, the Temple burn tends to be a very solemn and spiritual manifestation of Black Rock’s collective experience.

It’s customary for Burners to make the journey to the Temple and spend some time meditating, perusing, and basking in the sacred space. Many write letters, notes, good-byes on the wooden walls and support beams themselves. Memorials, pictures, photo album pages, mini shrines constructed in the nooks and crannies, all building blocks which make the entire structure become a living monument, a vacuum of desperate love, guilt, loneliness, and disbelief and often times moments of peace. And when it burns, it is like Christianity’s practice of Communion, where the Priest’s blessing is said to change the bread and wine to the blood and body of Christ and eating it is believed to wash away sins.  Every memento, picture, and written word of farewell covering the Temple’s surface coalesces, chars, and floats away ash-like into the air, and with it, our guilt, fear, and sadness. 

When I wrote my good-byes, it was joyous. Yet, months later, I must admit the Temple may not have burned away 100% of the emotion I was looking to get rid of. In what ways had the burn changed me and in what ways did it fancy itself nothing more than a selfish art piece?

I wrote on your walls:

An omen, curse, and promise.

Unanswered magic.

Anthology of Firsts

Star-ridden and worshipped:
you reek of talent
and scalloped grasses,
leaves fresh and waving,
pine needles crisp
and snapped open
to be sucked on.

You ooze of innocuous
cheekbones and jaw
depicted in dreamful
states and fortune-told
spaces gaping with
whiskey and half-smoked

You are the antithesis of
and when I bask
in the lack of what you lack,
I am the wild animal—

swift head shot,
down and trophied,
lying belly up,
roped and yoked
with pleasure.

Just look up, he says,
you’ll eventually see one,
they’re happening all the time.

The Temple of Promise I

I rarely premise a Letter from the Playa with any sort of introduction. However, the Temple of Promise going down this year really shaped my entire experience and I wanted to deconstruct that effect it had on me with a minimalist approach. The 2015 Temple burn was quite different for me. While many were mentally reaching out to loved ones or saying their solemn goodbyes, I was internally celebrating a loss.

This is the first in a line of haikus dedicated to the Temple of Promise. Haikus are seemingly easy, but much like a controlled fire, they can promptly surprise you. I challenge you to read it a few times, slowly at first, and perhaps it will ignite a fond memory. I hope you enjoy.
(Photo credit: Jim Urquhart / Reuters)

I watched you burn slow,

floating in the weeping crowd,

I moan in triumph.