On Wednesday Mish posted a poetic challenge at the d’Verse Poets Pub. As it happens it coincides with a prompt I gave to Kitchen Sync, an open mic I monthly run in my town, and due today, Thursday. The prompt was the word “novel”. Thus, I get to kill two birds at once. I also passed along this end-line challenge to the group. I love to envision our ideas as concentric circles rippling through the atmosphere and spreading everywhere.
My closest at hand book was “The Oasis This Time” by Rebecca Lawton subtitled:”Living and Dying with Water in the West” It is a collection series of beautifully written essays about how urgently human lives are shaped by the waters of their environment. I actually bought this for my son whose work is deeply enmeshed in the water system of rivers and delta surrounding Sacramento, CA. He was supposed to receive it for Christmas, but I hadn’t finished reading it. It is sitting on my desk waiting to be mailed.
Aside from the importance of her subject, I’m very happy to recommend Rebecca Lawton’s book for it’s articulate expression and deft storytelling. We poets can learn so very much from well-written prose – particularly how to craft a consistent sentence-based thought. So many thanks to Mish for Rebecca’s last line, quoted below as an epigraph…
“I’d choose the world in which we shelter
the natural oasis that has long sheltered us.”
Rebecca Lawton, “The Oasis This Time”
how much I drink
thirst tortures me.
Throat, arms, legs, scalp
hunger for moisture.
Skin sloughs off like snow;
speckles shoulders, eyebrows
linings of leggings. Oasis Spa
scrubs me raw, slathers me
in cool mud, smears scented oils
on every inch of epidermis.
But still lips thin, membranes thicken,
roughen, desiccate, itch, driving me
mad, forcing me to move, jog, run
until a green neon palm tree
sashaying with the Santa Ana wind
beckons me toward the Green Oasis.
Regulars line the bar, like a row
of surreal dolls, faces fashioned
from dried apples. They turn to stare,
watch me stand at the counter
to gulp a flight of Scotch whiskey.
My features, reflected in the mirror,
look more like theirs with every sip.
Mint and parsley save me —
two bunches in a jar behind the bar.
I order bloody marys and mojitos
for the room, their green aromas
moisten my mouth, restore a memory…
Box canyon, hidden spring,
a tamarisk and rustling reeds,
natural oasis I long for —
thirst quenching veriditas
sprung from bedrock
into this holy haven
wrapped in blue
floating on a sea of stars.