Spring Mountain Poems


Ascending Spring Mountain,
I leave the neon and flashing lights
of Vegas and drive toward the sunset
that coats the western sky
in red-orange truth.

I reach the peak, but night has fallen.
Moonlight silhouettes barren rock,
headlights of passing trucks
illuminate unadorned desert scrub,
rivers of light shimmer
like mirages in the valleys
below the cool and quiet heights.


Descending Spring Mountain,
down the winding miles
from the cool, quiet heights,
from the gypsum-coated miners
talking over after-work beers
at the Spring Mountain Saloon,
down the winding miles
past pillars of moonlit rock,
through wilderness of high desert scrub,
open range, cattle, and wild horses.

Down Spring Mountain,
across the last cattle guard,
past the scattered houses
of pioneer suburbanites,
stop on a bulldozed street
and look down upon Vegas,
hotel-casinos rising
above light-soaked plains
lapping at mountain’s foot.

I watch the river of lights,
neon with lust for life, flowing
past post-modern towers that reach to the gods,
capitalist temples selling chance and illusion.

I descend into the city,
no message to bring,
no tablets to smash,
no wrath to rain down.
I drive along the boulevard canyon,
hand the keys to the valet,
and enter the temple.

I do not overturn tables.
I do not nail theses to the door.
I do not shout “thou shalt not” in the lobby.
Instead, I avert my eyes and walk to the elevator,
defiant in my non-participation,
ascend to my room to sleep easily,
complacent in smug knowledge
that next day I return
to my tolerant life back East.


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