Myths and Magic
In Taos the men talked in clusters of myths and legends,
living out truths stranger than fiction
The one supposedly pursued by the mob
killed a rattlesnake and also fixed the toilet,
maybe even at the same time
The one trained to kill communists
who arrived in Florida with a backpack
and left later on with millions
had seen too much of war
but carried a pistol in his pocket and
gave us a map of Colorado after we gave him dinner.
Gratitude is a cup of many potions.
In the San Luis valley we had an afternoon
of wild top secret tales from a man
who tried to give us all his weed, then
disappeared like morning mountain mist
or some Viking god of mischief
In the Rockies a couple on a “leave of absence”
seemed to have been one step behind us everywhere
playing banjos in a homemade tent full of ghosts
The Chihuahuan desert brought a
French-tongued medic with Aladdin’s cave in a trailer,
and a theologian from Arizona who seemed
to be making it up as he went along,
dragging an axel that sang for the javelina we watched for
drinking by Coleman lantern light,
inventing our own mythology bit by bit by bit
We road trip and camp frequently, and we meet a lot of interesting people in the process. This poem was prompted by a conversation with a friend about The Great Gatsby, because I often feel much like Nick did during the whole course of that book.
If you’re reading this, thank you! I hope you have many pleasant and stimulating conversations with strangers in your future (when people are willing to be around each other again). You never know which one of them might be an angel in disguise. . . . .