To my playa self

Good night
sweet thing,
another year
always brings:

a light
a song
a dance
a scream–

A giant hug
a warm kiss.

A sweat
a mirror
a fever
of bliss–

A thrust
a shiver
a demand
for promises.

A shaking, a spreading,
an emblem of survival,
a quaking
a scraping
a tremor of denial.

And when you rest,
sweet thing,
when the cape is hung,
the whips are folded,
the dust masks
are debris-free:

dream I’m on fire.

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
silhouette.

Join me:
chain links
of hedonism
and wind-chapped
kisses.

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 Duncan.co

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
flush,
cheekbones and jaw
traced,
memorized,
depicted in dreamful
states and fortune-told
spaces gaping with
whiskey and half-smoked
cigarettes.

You are the antithesis of
acrimony,
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.

The Flying Embers

If I release the utterings,
(which I am deathly afraid to do)
articulation unfolds the light,
from it springs music,
LED ropes, fired hula hoops,
and charred limbs—
wooden beams
bent in waves, smoking
and whistling, banging
like church bells,
the uncanny resemblance
to purgatory bliss
like a mother’s lullaby
and father’s heavy palm
on your shoulder
bubbling into a familial
sanctuary.

Where have we been?
Can I take the train
back to insanity,
the space that lacks regret,
the portal engaged
in raucous lovemaking
and translucent
forgiveness?

No.
Carry it with you,
be the tracks, the laid brick,
the parallel tiles
of silk and sweat
and drugged out
awareness.
Hyper focus on me.
I am forever at your heels
and it tastes
like a beginning,
a sweet sauce
made from
effervescing
city limits.

Team me, lover,
engulfed in oxygen
and treading in spit,
we are now,
and at sometime we’ll be
a later.

No Love Letter

No love letter.
Instead the army wife,
the combat mother,
falling faintly
to the porch’s surface,
the wood
a weathered red.

The officers approach,
their hats removed,
white, dove-hands
reach forth, but—
she’s already on knees,
dress a puffed out
seatie, her ankles stems
and then frightened
animal shakes.

The button-downed men
with faces of droop
wrap arms and pat backs,
their faces also wet.
I’ve never seen
anyone cry as hard as she,
and yet,
I only saw the back of her head.

The shoulders of iron,
the neck of steel,
her spirit leaving
gently behind a shell:

a 40s haircut,
red-heeled feet,

and oceans
of fallen glow.

el regalo

It came in any form you could imagine:
A naughty look from the beautiful fire dancer,
her eyes grinning red,
laughing with lust—
or a banana, handed to you
in the heat of the day
by a large, naked woman,
her breasts hanging globes,
nipples drooped like calla lilies
brimming with rainwater.

Sometimes it was:
a bike ride
on a stranger’s handlebars
back to your camp,
your head nestled
in their lap, a lap
you met 20 minutes ago.

Or it was a feather boa,
a glow stick,
a shark tooth necklace,
a vial of playa dust,
a few drops of precious
hand sanitizer.

What you returned to the Earth—
a dance, a 30 second hug,
a suck on a Camel Pak,
a sliver of LSD,
fairy dust that makes
people fly.

The cyclical rhythm pulsing
like the heartbeat of a giant.
Burning through layers
of concocted barricades.

Take this, so that I may always
be with you.

The Setting

the bedrock is slick
with sweat and tireprints:

the long lines of blue,
the pointed tops of tents,
the fairies floating in the sky,
amber ash billowing
smoky screens of red.

Who is this place?

Thunderstorms pummeled
granulated visions,
wet-dog smelly and dewy,
soaked in heat and alcohol.

The rain was Medusa–
Frozen in shock,
immobile with greedy
appetites for sun.

Why is this place?

Grandparenting along,
the spectacle careened
towards wise-cracks
and fable-esque epitomes.

I chose to date the warmth.
I chose to make love to dust.

This place is the why
and this place is the who.