Cloud Shadow 25


I’ve been lost in

these canyons


for a century or two


Just floating a-

round with


much to do


I’ve read all

my books

about one hundred

times each


My spelling has improved

but I’m

a numbskull now

when it comes to speech


My haunted old boat

has become


as over-cooked toast


About forty feet a-

bove the ground

it can

barely still coast


It has bumped into

the walls of

these canyons a-

bout ten million times


Once more and it will

become nothing but


butterfly rhymes


I have not grown wise

over the ages


plain numb


If you were to ask me

my name

I would

just sit and look dumb


These scrappy


canyons of nothing

but rocks and sand


Have turned me into

the desert-bleached

bones of a

silent time-weary man


A living








Deep Desert sky…


Deep Desert Blues V

by Rawclyde




Singing Lizards


from the short novel





    Come dawn, after another night without sleep, the road princess was on the road again ~ afoot, stiff, thirsty, hungry.

     Plump red pears sitting like crowns on cacti growing along side the dirt road, beckoned her blade.  She cut off one of the little fruits ~ bit into it.  It was sweet and juicy.  She ate several.

     At the bottom of the canyon she came across a creek.  She dunked her head into the cold bubbling water ~ and drank.  Although she was already somewhat chilled from her long night in the open air, she discarded her clothes and nimbly stepped in ~ submerged herself in a nature sculptured tub of rock and sand.  The water was agonizingly cold, and a moment later, blissfully refreshing.

     Ruthie bathed.

     She noticed a crawdad, its beady little eyes sticking up out of the water, spying on her.  With a deft hand she picked up a rock and, quick as a bullet, smashed in the crawdad’s head.  She broke apart with her teeth the little lobster-clawed carcass and ate the mouthful of raw meat within.

     Ruthie stepped out of the tub.  She sparkled like a flower with morning dew ~ and covered with goose bumps.  The creamy-white shadow of a tiny bikini accented her summer tan.  She shivered.  If a vehicle had passed at this time, the occupants, if lucky enough to be glancing in the right direction, would have glimpsed a completely revealed piece of ~ of living grace.  But no vehicle passed.  Ruthie donned her clothes and footwear, combed her fingers through the long wet strands of her hair.  Revived and reckless and ready to die, the young lioness of the road hit the road with a familiar bounce in her step ~ and with droplets of water evaporating on her naked belly.

     Three hours later her feet were dragging.  Her heart was pounding.  She was dripping, instead of with creek water, with sweat.  Lizards scampered into the brush along the beer-can strewn roadside as she passed.  Dust arose in little puffs of woe behind her heels.

     The road was now ascending without respite ~ mile after mile.  The gravitational pull was not nice.  The lack of shade was not nice either.  The sun was so hot that poor sojourner Ruthie felt as if she were ploddding along beneath 50 electric blankets ~ turned on ~ high!

     How come there were no cars on this road?  And where was this road taking her?  She shuffled around a bend in it.  Hoping to see it level out, she saw instead the ribbon of dirt curling its way up the canyon wall for at least another steep mile.  Ruthie’s heart sank.  Yet her feet kept plodding forward.  She was going to walk until she died.

     Then she heard a chorus of humming.  She stopped in her tracks.  Her heart, beating hard, was actually keeping beat with the humming.  Or was the humming keeping beat with her heart?  At any rate, what seemed like a hundred baritone voices were humming what sounded like an old Civil War tune.  Where was the humming coming from?  Ruthie looked around.  She saw nobody.  So she kept walking.  But the humming wouldn’t quit.  So she stopped again.  And listened.  It was definitely an old Civil War tune.

     If you recall, kind and sympathetic reader, Ruthie had had only a couple winks of sleep for many days and many nights ~ six days and six nights to be exact.  Physically, being young and strong, she was still, more or less, sound.  But mentally, she was long gone and beyond that level of normal day-to-day functioning of which we, who find nightly rejuvenation via sleep, are so familiar.  Mentally, you might say, she had sky-rocketed off the launching pad of an uninvited, undeniable, unmerciful exhaustion, into other, less familiar realms.  Now, in other words, she was nuts.  But she didn’t know this.  The humming was as real as could be to her, and the lizards that had been scampering into the brush and hiding as she walked by, were now lined up, she thought, on either side of the road, doing push-ups, and humming!

     Ruthie was dumbfounded.

     Yet she smiled fondly at the prehistoric little bygones who she thought were there but weren’t, and who were honoring her with what she thought was such a fine performance ~ and she continued to drag her feet up the long long road.

     With an endless row of unreal lizards to the left of her, and an endless row of unreal lizards to the right of her, all humming in brilliant chorus, Ruthie cried and smiled like rain and sunshine at the same time ~ with exhaustion, pain, joy ~ as she trudged along.  And the enchanting beauty of her inner spirit brightened the ripe femininity in her face to such an acute degree, that she was beautiful as a woman could be, but nobody was there to see.  And pretty soon, the lizards were singing:

“When Ruthie

comes marching into Heaven

Hurrah!  Hurrah!

God and his angels

will welcome her then

Hurrah!  Hurrah!”

She felt rather foolish, even blushed, and the song was terribly corny, but she couldn’t help but rain and shine with a kind of exultation.  With these little baritoning ghosts of her mind to either side of her, she felt very humble and very proud.  In fact, she experienced every edifying emotion there is to feel under the sun, as they sang:

“Saint Peter

will cheer, her dead brother

will shout ~

Good gentlemen

     they will all turn out ~ “

And she even burst out with laughter, titillatingly amused, when her multitudinous entourage trumpeted:

“And we’ll all

feel gay when Ruthie comes

marching home!”

The road princess straightened her shoulders and picked up her pace, as hundreds of reptilian figments of her sleep-starved, sun-stricken imagination, doing push-ups to either side of her, hummed some more and repeated again and again their song of glory to her.  She was elated.  She was sanctified.  She was full-blown nuts ~ and wiped the sweat and the dust off her brow with her slender arm and trudged on.

     She reached another bend in the ascending road ~ saw the ribbon of dirt continue its ascent up and around a distant, broad-faced bluff.

     “Jesus,” she moaned ~ and trudged onward.

     The lizards, as Ruthie passed, clamped their jaws and began to scamper into the brush alongside the road again, just like normal lizards do.  Ruthie stopped, blinked, scratched her head.  The silence was mortifying.  All she could hear was her heart beat.  She turned around, backtracked around the bend she had just traversed, peered down the road.  Nothing ~ nothing but a mini-Grand Canyon and an empty road climbing up out of it.

     “Am I going nuts?  Or what?”  mumbled Ruthie.  She turned around and continued onward ~ up up up the long dirt road.


The Road Princess And Eternity





The town sheriff

one black lonesome partner

tilted back in a chair

by the hanging tree


Sheriff Isom Dart

got so lonely there

he packed a few things on a burro

melted into the brush


When the train

chug-chugged around the bend

it blew it’s whistle but kept going

without even slowing down



there’s nothing there

whatever town was there

has melted into the earth


A couple lizards

dart from bush to bush

a bird perches on a cactus

   whispering wind…


(Copyright Clyde Collins 2012)


Going to the chapel…


The most beautiful

most ghoulish empress

on Earth

& I

so sly so wry

stood on the top

of a rock pinnacle so high

up there in the desert sky

her one thousand & one demonettes

so wily so crafty

could not answer why


Above the panoramic valley of death

swayed her & I

her hair a furious flag of glory

the hat on my head a miracle

that would not blow away

in the blow-torch wind that

scorched wounded & branded our souls


The view at our feet

shrank crucifixions & ghost towns

into nothing for nobody but ants

this wild escarpment of God stretched

around the planet & bumped

the back of the head as

we stood there

on the verge of slow dancing

but just holding hands instead

our eyes wide open to



Clouds eye-balled by like

thick novels

their pages fluttering to the climatic end

in a matter of seconds


A passing eagle dropped a feather

into me’ lady’s other hand

the great bird snapped his wing

& was gone


She stuck her new eagle feather into my miracle hat

I became Chief Hopping Rabbit

but we still didn’t dance


We only stood there

quietly contemplating the journey before us

then I said to her



She  squeezed my hand

we leaped into the void


we floated upward…


(Copyright Clyde Collins 2012)





Yuma’s “good morning” skies


the desert goddess’s eyes

barely open now

and awaiting

her nausea to go away

while radiating more n’ more

solar rays

tainted pretty pink, tainted gothic purple

and finally flashing their blue baby blue

all over the place

and the desert goddess moans

“Is this Goonsville or

is this the ghost town called Love?”


(Copyright Clyde Collins 2011)



Pulaski & The Great Switcherroo



Pulaski was hitch-hiking but mostly hiking

walking & walking some more, stalking the end

of another endless highway

in the parched desert of his particular dreams ~


He found someone doing the same damn thing

more or less but in the opposite direction

they met for some damn reason on the island

between lanes & the other feller fired one up ~


Oh brother oh brother let me tell you

another tall one not too accurately true

it’s fine & dandy finding ye in the middle of no-where

wind blasting, sun growing long our kinky knotty hair ~


Two lonesome wanderers of the wasteland

they departed each others company

high & happy, each heading back the way he came

their goals receding behind them in the great switcherroo…


(Copyright Clyde Collins 2011)