Serpents and Shifting Sands

“Options” — Sabrina Farley

Black clouds swell across the land.
Shifting sands shatter—harvester—reaper—sower—the will to endure.
The winds of fire blow
A caress of the demons’ own hands,

Vagabonds upon a Grecian urn,
Or rambling rolling stones
Depicted in paintings of torment.
Generations down-and-out,
A 1927 Ford Model-T is called home.
Hunger pangs strike deep on the road.
Not a pot to piss in, nor a dream to comfort.

We pray for the rains one last time.
Around the family table,
Our last pig—scrawny—emaciated—allows more
Than a fist full of sand for supper.
Flesh clad with sand, grit grinds the teeth,
The choking earth, the granule dearth.

There is darkness,
Riders, destroyers,
Horsemen on the lam.
No water flows, nothing grows.
Witness and suffer famine’s
Wilting throes.

So are . . . the demons in dirt and sand.
So are . . . the demons in dirt and sand.

Ol’ Blue

No more old dirt roads or grocery store missions,
The roadside produce markets on Ol’ 99.
It’s a long drive from Orenco.
Las Manzanas, las naranjas, las fresas, las peras:
I’ve hauled hay and maíz too.
My blue paint dulled, my bench seat torn,
The duct tape on my door will do,
Another fix-all in my golden years,
The right color too.

I’m a Ford, a Twin I-Beam truck,
Built like a tank, steel, American blood and sweat,
Body style K81—in this I have pride.
Who may take a gander under my hood?
My engine pulled, transmission stripped,
I’m retired, and I get lots of visitors.
The single dash speaker, the AM radio is silent inside.

I wanna sing for the museum traffic. It would be a delight:
I got it one piece at a time, and it didn’t cost me a dime.
You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town.
I’m gonna ride around in style and drive everybody wild.
I like to sing Johnny Cash the best, but Patsy Cline,
She makes me wanna go drivin’ under the moonlight.

The Lonely Hours

Lonely nights are but silent whispers.
The mumbled words slink as shadows.
Old sad songs from the saloon,
Tones from the needle translate blue.
But only the lonely know wh-why-why I cry,
only the lonely, echoes in the street.
The shadows creep slow where the lonely go.

Where do lonely hearts dine on a Saturday night?
Who do they dream of while starvation hastens
Like a good conversation,
where masks are not accented?

Lights shine into the monochrome night,
an offering of color, like a museum—
some beautiful moment to behold,
coupled faces around dressed-up tables, making merry
(insert happy dialogue here) alluring voices whiff.

Where do lonely hearts dine on a Saturday night?
Burnt desires, crusted and on a bed of ashes.
Soured pinot fills crystal glasses,
where masks are accented.

Each line pondered, it’s all the same.
Lamentations slither,
ballad rings out, beauty of melancholy,
Fear of death, the want to rediscover in doubt.

Mournful are devices
That distill the dreams of the sovereign stargazer.
The whippoorwill sings tonight,
Where lonely hearts dine on a Saturday night.