Napo 19

Yesterday, I had some brain fog from the aftermath of a migraine and I couldn't focus on writing or anything mentally demanding. So, instead, I went for a nice long run, grocery shopped, and played some video games to let my head work through the mush.

Today, I feel sharp. Ready to write.

The prompt for today, Easter Sunday, was to write a surreal poem modeled after Lorca. I love Lorca, but I can never make sense of his poetry. That's the point though, isn't it? Today, I practiced letting go of sense in favor of sensory details to describe what it's like to live in Baytown, to live within spitting distance of both the Exxon Mobil refinery and the Chevron Phillips refinery. It's never truly dark here because those are so bright. In a strange way, like NYC, Baytown, too, never sleeps.

The Sun that Never Sets

Here, a fire always burns in the sky—
The flare stack opens its mouth
And never closes it, breathes fire
And light into the night sky, the stars
Faint but there if you have faith enough.
The living move like ants, aware
That the sun will one day burn them
To a crisp like a curious child
With a magnifying glass, the sizzle
Of heat on pavement. Nobody
Escapes this fate. The graveyards beneath this soil
Breathe a testament to the terrible history
Of this place, before the refineries bloomed
Like kudzu and took over this swampland
Of unbelievable alligators who strike in hunger,
Of unbelievable overseers who strike in pleasure,
Of unbelievable pain amongst the reeds of sugarcane.

The flood waters try to cover this land
Like a sheet over an exquisite corpse,
But waves have a way of receding,
And mistakes have a way of flowing
As the ocean ebbs, as the moon conducts
Another terrible symphony in the sky.

It’s night. She tries to close her eyes, convince
herself it’s all a dream, the flaming sun
Still burning through the blinds. She longs to fall
Into the soft embrace of sleep, of darkness,
The moist earth, the salt of the ocean,
The edge of shoreline. She can almost hear
The hushing of waves, the lull of a dream—
But this is not a dream. The magnolias die
A terrible death, strangled in bedsheet of smog.

Only this exists: the flesh, this thicket
of hair, this landscape of fluttering eyelids,
this river of night sweat. The earth moans
as she turns in her bed. She’s restless again.
She hopes one day this terrible sun will set.