Years ago I wrote poetry, and I’ve been fiddling with it again over the last month or so. Two poems have emerged whilst on holiday, and here’s one I just scribbled this morning, based on our drive last night from Tucson back to Phoenix.
“Night between Tucson and Phoenix”
Miles and cities and stars
all compete with truckers and truck stops
and night skies longing for a respite from heat, from scrub, from Pima cotton
grown in one of the driest places I have ever visited.
I thought the Princeton, California rice fields were odd.
Nothing prepared me for Pima cotton in the middle of the desert.
But in darkness cotton lies invisible,
as silent as mesquite trees and jutting rocks,
as yellow and purple flowers quietly decorating the highway.
All that remains is one of the darkest skies in my memories.
Stars shined halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, as if yet another
part of the country.
Phoenix is never hushed, but along I-10 a pitch-black
night overwhelms, subdues.
Big cities are too far away, miles of tarmac
broker two worlds. I was in two worlds last night,
announced by hulking semi’s, their long cabs calling
the drivers to shut down and become
one with the night. Fall into its blackness
and glory for a few hours.
The night only lasts a few hours.
The day lasts forever.
As we approached Phoenix, an eastern glow
beckoned, while the west remained cloaked in
black, beautiful night. Black beautiful peace
was edgeless horizon to crescent moon with
an eyeless smile, noting the rightness of
stars’ correct placement in the universe.
In Phoenix stars are drawn by children
hoping for something glimpsed on holiday,
in books, as myths.
But halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, stars rule.
I’ve been listening to Endless Boogie’s “The Artemus Ward” and “The Montgomery Manuscript” as inspiration for this poem, and one other that has been written whilst on holiday. Not sure what I’m going to do with them; if enough emerge, I might publish a collection.
Once I finish them, of course. I feel like this one needs to be longer. But for now, our last full day in Arizona, here’s a little of what’s on my mind…