Jason Baldinger: “the only other thing is nothing”

the only other thing is nothing
(for will hackney) 

got your postcard
from the edge of civilization 
in a resort town where 
water stopped like time
in the shimmer of 118 degrees 
out where the sea level still
can't find the sea 

california has eluded me
I haven't seen the salton sea
but I miss zabriske point
I miss armed attendants 
pumping expensive gas 
under blazing mojave sun 
desert rats aware
apocalypse already flashed 

the last time we shared a desert
you were celebrating life beginning
as speeches and dances rolled
I was in the parking lot
cold moon rises full
over the sierra blanca 

attempts to be a dutiful 
if long distanced partner
lonely in the clash 
between living with abandon
and living abandoned 

I am yucca, sun bleached
blossoms mummified 
while she's hostile
brandishing the shovel
that would bury us 

come morning
I start east
my eyes on lubbock 
beyond roswell
I spy a pecan grove
symmetrical oasis
stretched miles under 
unforgiving sun
park between rows
stand outside myself
the only other thing is nothing

About the Author: Jason Baldinger was recently told he looks like a cross between a lumberjack and a genie. He’s also been told he’s not from Pittsburgh but is the physical manifestation of Pittsburgh. Although unsure of either, he does love wandering the country writing poems. He’s penned fifteen books of poetry the newest of which include: The Afterlife is a Hangover (Stubborn Mule Press) and A History of Backroads Misplaced: Selected Poems 2010-2020 (Kung Fu Treachery), and This Still Life with James Benger. His work has appeared across a wide variety of print journals and online. You can hear him read his work on Bandcamp and on lps by The Gotobeds and Theremonster.

Image Credit: Arthur Rothstein “Type of land on project at Las Cruces, New Mexico. Note large yuccas” (1936) Public Domain photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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