Hi, I'm Brett Wilcox, thanks for reading my poetry. I write to create the desert winds so that I can breathe. I'm influenced by many great writers like Jorge Luis Borges, who wrote "With slow love she looked at the scattered colors of afternoon. It pleased her to lose herself in intricate melody or in the curious life of verses."
Sitting beside the black diagonals of the rubber doormat
Is a pair of Chaco's in the dirt
The sandal straps, green and blue, rigid in place
Waiting patiently for the next step
Down a well-maintained USFS gravel road, around
Twenty meters from where I'm parked, camping
Alone, except for the varied calls of passing birds, and
In the distance, a fire lookout tower, whose attendant, I hope
Greatly appreciates the hospitality of their view.
I'm on an adventure to the Malhuer National Forest
To escape the low elevations of August, to isolate
And to read, observe, consider, and reflect—
Some of which are things a chess player ought to do before every move.
It's been a peaceful experience, living
In this pine-scented Central Oregon mountain air
And I have enjoyed a feeling that everything is okay, will be okay...
The pastel horizon dancing silently into the evening dark.
Here are the desert grasses
Waving easterly in the Wyoming high-plateau breeze
Mid-summer snow-packed Teton peaks carving half the horizon
Light flashing gold purple wildflowers
And perfectly healthy colored sage.
It's Warren Bridge freedom at the Green River stream—
Fisherman, rafting, antelope grazing
Borges poetry, metaphysics, Java server-side logic
Paneer tikka masala, almonds, plenty of water
And importantly, no distractions from iPhone bombardment.
Along with Isidoro Suárez
We will all someday be desert dust,
Memories of another time.
I choose to be present here now
Alone in this serene, peaceful desert.
Hello to the world, and
Thank you for today.
Hungry and afraid they soldiered onward
Finding peace in the simplest of things—
A cumulus picture in the expansive blue afternoon sky,
The greening yard of an early Idaho spring,
Flowers, so beautiful, vivid, and real.
Heroically they survived the dying days
Of the greatest national empire of debt
The multiverse could create, yet
The vicious cycle would start anew, and
Somewhere an island pink palace exists.
With god-like furry, and
The temperament of a rogue wave,
He steeled himself against the others.
How dare they be unaware
Of the devilish plot
To marginalize, separate, and shear.
Fear and worry strangled dissents,
Almost all became witting accomplices
To their own confinements, yet
The virulent debasements did sneak past them
In the night of hundred year scheme,
Most were pleased for the scraps
Tossed to them from under the table,
He was not.
From missteps of good intentions
The wanderer became unwelcome
In his trek through gray-brown desert.
Sagebrush began to whistle insults as he walked,
The wind was unrelenting, gritty, oppressive,
And a cold spring rainstorm pelted his face,
Wearing him out,
Weighing him down,
Chafing his every step.
Eventually he stumbled on a downslope, and fell,
Landing hard upon a crooked rock,
Injured and unsure.
After a moment of uncertainty
Tall and fierce,
Knowing it would take infinitely more
To break his resolute, western spirit.
The sun sank, expectedly,
Into the false horizon of our time.
So much human folly, misery
For no better reason
Than centralized control of money,
A tragic decision,
And the invisible enemy,
The tiniest of things
Setting free the avalanche.
In a forested backyard in desert Idaho,
A late October chill confirms the autumn colors,
Leaves, lying in a portrait on the dulling grass,
Dogs chasing squirrels in viscous sprints, and
Soft light still shallow in its orbit.
Today will be unlike the others,
Laughter, like just before the news, when
Looking out the window in a forested backyard
In a desert town in Idaho, on a
Late October morning with a chill,
Autumn colors — leaves, lying in a portrait — and
Light shadows flickering from the apple tree branches.
Maybe I have been here before.
As I turn eyes westward
A deeply penetrating orange light,
Tangled in the hilltop trees,
Brings a smile to Heraclitus and me.
There’s fire-light running wild through the universe,
Setting sun, late April Idaho brisk wind,
Hiking trails; time.
Hemingway never forgot his first love, the
Memory of her more beautiful, abstract,
Each passing day.
Maybe our purpose is simple—
To care, contribute, and
Witness the splendor.
Ice appeared on the river’s banks today, and
On the tops of rocks in the current,
Changing the course of the world, from
That which was, to
That which now is, the
Chaos of ripples shimmering then disappearing
At the whim of cold passing clouds
In the shallow morning sun.
The river taught him years ago that
Destiny is shaped by innumerable complexities,
Owing nothing to precedence or righteousness, and
Takes all routes to the same end, simultaneously.
If you stop thinking for a moment, and
Truly observe and listen,
Nature will teach you what it means to be human,
Allowing you to levitate just above the ground,
For a while.
It was two hours before sky-dark
When the badger was defeated,
Crippled in spirit,
Awkwardly bruised from the imperial battle,
Humbled by the more capable creature
Hell-bent on shaping the mountain
In the image of its rage.
A bird, soaring kingly in the ocean-gray sky,
Observed the badger’s thrashing
Through the autumn evening rain haze,
Predicting the astringent badger would become
Disloyal in character, acidic, unwell.
In time, sadly, the badger proved the bird true,
Plotting with a doltish, clumsy raven
The humiliated badger prepared an attack
To malign the bird’s account of the beating.
Unbeknownst to the badger the spying eyes
Of an eagle from afar also bore witness,
Saving the bird from unholy disparage
Claimed by the deficient duo.
Sullen, the badger went back to its hole in the ground,
The dimwitted raven knew not what to think.
The fire light of desert sunrise,
Lambent on the proud east walls of Red Rock Canyon,
Repeats its primordial routine, dancing
Over Spanish tiled roofs, palm trees, cactus.
Oh, day— you are a peculiar stage—
And I the lucky one
To witness on a simple morning
A quiet sunrise, and
The ancient sky now peopled with airplanes
Jetting triangle dreams that fade colors to blue.
For a period of time
When the sun is narrowly above the horizon
The city between us disappears
From the overpowering brightness of our star, yet
Against all probability
I am here.
In this grand opera of sunlight
Maria Flores knew only a beautiful life,
The flowered walls of her father’s Mexico estate
Sheltered her from the pallid faces and
Barrio clutter scattered about the village.
Maria knew the sweet taste of fresh cornbread
Peppered with green chiles grown in her garden;
She knew her papa’s laugh, his smile, his kind voice.
Maria knew many nice things, and such is a
Lucky childhood, to be the recipient
Of a great effort to protect innocence, her
Father’s aim to barricade her from incivility, and
Foster an environment of creativity and love.
Still, the world has a way of falling apart, if only
To be reborn with new vigor.
The entire village was stunned by the accusation,
Assuredly false, that Maria’s father was guilty, then
Sentenced to be hanged.
The tears flowed as though Thales of Miletus
Found the source of his watery archê in Maria.
Her papa was gone.
Her happy childhood abruptly ended. Yet,
Maria’s newly ashen heart was determined
To beat vibrant-red again someday.
She would live to make her papa proud, for
He taught her—
A beautiful life is a choice.
He walks slowly along the Socratic forest trail
Happily enjoying several steps without pain,
The ritual of ontological contemplation
Coloring nature green, as the
First autumn yellow leaves question time.
Amid the placid freedom is awareness
Of the river song shaping the rocks, but also
Acknowledgement of the dark empire’s evil energy
Dropping bombs on innocent children for profit.
How unjust is this paradise offering moments of
Windless warmth from our benevolent star, while
Terrorizing untold peoples for differing politics?
Maybe injustice cannot be banished, but
Indifference to unnecessary suffering allows
Those that control the money supply
To continue their unconscionable experiments.
Decentralize money for more fairness.
Our time here is so tender, yet cruel, a type of
Flaubertian struggle to be sure. For the
Same riverbank water blessing the tree
Undercuts its roots flowing round the bend,
Precipitating an overearly death, as the tree
Falls in slow motion
Toward that which giveth and taketh away,
Its life source, and saboteur.
Knowing intensifies the grief.
The desert knows it to be true
That we’re much older
Than our memories permit us to be, that
Wind lifts birds free from the tree, and
Rapids make storied kayak streams.
What if our nature was peaceful, serene?
Hiking over cactus
Hiking, hiking over cactus, over cactus.
The human story is perhaps incomplete,
Maybe there existed more beautiful people
Smiling and praying in families of antiquity
Than science asks us to believe,
Ravens scream murderous themes.
Take every chance for love dear flower
Stand tall and be brave in all weather, for a
Taurid meteor might cause social amnesia,
Tomorrow's unimaginable loss of our
Triumphs, miseries, collective history,
As those that happened before us
Evanescent in the ether between stars.
With grand uncertainty, and
A tender heart, I plead with
The spinning of our worlds.
Waves and cirrostratus
Tell different stories
Of the same blue sky,
Changing each breath, and
Minds racing when we see each-other,
Past present, like the wind.
There will always be you
And the flowers, and
The day you never knew about
That I want so badly to share, for
You are on high in my mind.
From a place of deep caring,
Desert and the sun.
I hear the crickets outside my open summer morning balcony door,
And a breeze, perfect across my arm and face.
The world can be a beautiful place.
Colors, laughter, children, friendship, loyalty, yet
I’ve met strangers I fell in love with
That showed me the world is a much darker space, where
Bombs are dropped on good people, and
Banks that create money from nothing
Guarantee none of us are free in the end.
There’s a tyranny afoot
So insidious to normality
That the insanity of modern life
Is lost on every unthinking being,
Led to slaughter by their kings.
You see, there’s a nobility,
Two classes coexist,
Those close to the money printers, and
Those more removed.
Do you suppose anything about life is truly
Set up for your advantage and good health?
Then you don’t hear the crickets.
Life is a beautiful,
Horrible war every day to exist.
I recall with perfect clarity,
Yet an inability to describe,
The smell of my grandfather’s shop
From when I was a young, happy boy.
There existed a faint aura of magic
About the simple cinder block structure,
A shop wherein my grandfather fixed his old Ford,
A soft veil of dust swimming in the air, and
Filtered light pushing through the weathered translucent door.
Very infrequently I get a whiff, ever so slight,
That brings a smile to my face all these years later
As I’m reminded of my brave grandfather’s shop, and
The beautiful, innocent days playing childish games
At his home in Idaho.
My grandfather died too early, unfairly, in a daze of dementia,
I miss you grandpa, I want to see you again, and tell you
Thanks for teaching me how to play chess, and
Thanks for all your effort in life.
I’m sorry a motorcycle accident caused you to limp and suffer,
I know pain now too.
Since I didn’t tell you as a child
I want to say loudly now—
I’m proud of you grandpa, and
Thank you for my name.
A pause, then piercing silence in the windstorm
Lasting long enough for me to be thankful
For a brief reprieve from the rattles and din
Ravaging our Balboa Bay mineral exploration tent-camp
On a frightening August Alaska Peninsula night.
The wild ruckus is perfect cover for the bear to attack, and
I swear I hear the wounded brown bear’s passing footsteps
Just outside my flapping tent, as it
Hunts for the man that shot him yesterday for proximity violation.
Several more hours before sunrise,
Yet I’m wide awake from the menacing uproar,
Alone in the darkness,
Silently pleading with the bear and the blustering gales
To postpone the battle.
Someday this rugged land might take me away.
Until then I choose to trespass in its resplendence,
On a narrow, mountainous, alder strip of land
Separating the mighty Pacific Ocean from the angry Bering Sea.
She knew injustice from a distance
It pained her just the same,
No, not the same,
But tears did well from her eyes
Wetting the backs of her hands, her arms
As she relived the images of his death—
A Nigerian man she never knew
Bludgeoned for some unknown reason, repeatedly,
And thrown into a shallow burning pit, alive.
He struggled for while, the man, burning.
You know how this ends,
And so does she, and she can never forget
The horror of mankind.
It’s a choice to carry on.
It’s a choice to be kind.
Maria Flores loves her father,
Knowing who he is—
A man of courage—
Carving his empire
From the cactus dotted desert hillside near Hidalgo
Where his prized Espadín agave farm
Crafts the finest musty Mezcal añejo in a generation.
Maria especially loves her father for his generosity, where
In a land of constant struggle,
Replete in vibrant cultural ardor, and
Dirty flowing water in the streets
Past hungry barefoot children,
He welcomes strangers with work, and
Peaceful, noble sweat-stained sleep.
Despised by his jealous enemies,
Maria’s father smiles brightest
Each time she enters the room.
An ice shelf cracked
Began to drift
Like a person after disaster.
But hearts still warm for a smile
And love finds a way— and sorrow.
There’s no easy way
Along your journey,
To believe so is deceit.
When your last breath leaves you
You’ll know it’s bittersweet.
River rocks bend to water’s will
Creating new channels, new current,
Silver flecks green edges of riparian leaves,
Canadian geese idly searching for treasure.
Is the world still alive if my eyes don’t observe?
Or alive when my mind wanders and scurries?
How many times have I walked past a river
Blind to the symphony of aliveness?
Worried thoughts hide present moments.
Awareness is the gift.
While on my normal daily walk
An orange and errant monarch butterfly
Graced the summer sky in passing flutter,
Navigating a galaxy of cottonwood snow
Drifting from Idaho riverbank trees.
Often it’s the simple things
That fills my mind with wonder.