think twice before hitting Costco a few days before Burning Man



they descend like a swarm of sedate wasps,
heaping-high wobbly carts with desert-friendly nectar
cases of crystalline water and burnt umber ale,
sani-wipes and 50 spf sunscreen
(no counter-cultural affects apparent at this very moment)

i secretly envision bare-naked bodies and circus themed
clothes in bright primary colors, floaty-gauzy fabrics
bedecked with heavy jewels and sparkly tiaras
when the arid playa of the black rock desert transforms,
overnight, into the third largest city in nevada,
proudly boasting its 65,000 old-young citizens
riotously celebrating a plethora of arts
under the ever-watchful eye of the bureau of land management
and the pershing county sheriff’s department

an already-frazzled guy just in front of me (in the slithering line
snaking all the way back to the ladies clothing table
piled high with gloria vanderbilt jeans in early autumn hues)
pushes his cart loaded high with health bars
and sturdy flats of gatorade (orange, blue, yellow-green and blue),
sighs and advances, at last, a couple of feet toward the checkout stand.

ten days from now, they will emerge, caked in mud,
dump their thrift store clothes into the nearest dumpster
and queue up in another line at the car wash up the hill.
they will leave an empty playa in near-pristine condition,
will donate battered bikes to be cleaned, refurbished and,
perhaps, given to needy kids, if not reclaimed again next year.
these weary burners will return to the drudgery of day-jobs
leaving us all-the-richer for their presence
(and consumption.)

Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar. Bjorn asks us to use a generous amount of modifiers in our writing today–contrary to the best of writing rules. And since we in Northern Nevada are welcoming hoards to Burning Man where breaking the rules of culture is the norm (along with celebrating the arts) I just couldn’t resist–especially after my trip to Costco this morning. OyVey

Your Wild and Precious Life–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

A flock of starlings startled me this morning
flying randomly between city sky scrapers
before settling into formation
and heading toward the mountains.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

A perfect fence, white pickets,
with perfect shadows.
Is it there to hold in or keep out?
Or is it just there?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

In May, along the river walk,
an abundance of pink wild roses, snarly branches,
rival our well-planned gardens
with their playfulness.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

My sister’s husband deferred retirement
so they would have more money.
She died the month before their trip to the Amazon.
He cancelled their plans and never went back to work.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Written in response to the prompt I’m offering for dVerse Meeting the Bar–Patterns. I’ve included patterns in the structure of the poem, using a short verse from one of Mary Oliver’s poems as the refrain. As a topic, I’m aiming to challenge over-reliance on the importance of patterns in our own lives.

And speaking of freedom and maybe a bit of the wild life, the Burners are invading Reno–that is, those who will be attending Burning Man, an event that celebrates art and culture. During this week, the Black Rock Desert, a Playa about 90 miles north of us, will become the third largest city in Nevada with upwards of 70,000 attendees. Check it out!

The Pub opens soon, 3:00 EDT. I hope you will join us with a poem based on this idea and look forward to reading your work.

Photo: NYT

Photo: NYT

Poetry Potluck–“Art and Environment”

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert

Image via Wikipedia

This poem is submitted to Poetry Potluck. The theme was buildings, landmarks, monuments. I have chosen the Nevada Museum of Art, where I am privileged to be a docent. 

Art and Environment
A Mirror Cinquain

form and function,
art and architecture—
Nevada Museum of Art,
Black Rock.

Black Rock—
desert wilderness, holy ground,
fertile, arid playa,
Burning Man Art,

The design of Nevada Museum of Art was inspired by the nearby Black Rock Desert. The museum focuses its mission on the influence of humans on the environment and is home to the Center for Arts and Environment. The museum’s mission guides the staff in its selection of art for exhibition and for acquisition. Check on the link to NMA to see images of the museum.

 Each year, on Labor Day Weekend (the first weekend in September), the Black Rock Desert is host into a counter-cultural, artistic community known as Burning Man.  The festival’s attendees number between 45,000 to 50,000 people, transforming it for a short period of time into the 3rd largest city in Nevada.

The form for a mirror cinquain is as follows (in syllables):