Nigel Wheale

Arroyo Real

In the high-tensity gallery case
gold foil leaves on an ancient alexandrine lover's crown
shiver to the skip of a far-down seismic beat.

Lean stealth-swallows vector thru haze
hanging at edge of the waves' teeth
                            on the slide, on the slip
snorting volatile chaparral oils,
                            keyed-up on air tone
over degrading quartzite earth,
                            updraughting on subalpine bliss
gifted from the color-blushed peaks above,
delicate as faded frescoes gracing a by-passed Diner.

Self-possessed night waves pulse to the bay shore
like veins moving underdarkened indian skin
over which free-loading surfers busk in dayglo suits
sporting ditzy miners' lamps at bronzed foreheads.
Idiot bayside palms look down appalled
their leg-warmers pulled up high
around an electrified dentifrice of leaf hairs.

Beyond the knife-thin blades of the filtering blind
waves of new thought are marked at each driftline,
whitening spines of course-readers in classical polity,
renaissance civics, undisturbed on the liberal shelves
above the generous white oak floors.

All the growth-enhanced wagons called Suburban
surf a conglomerate image ocean
past the speaking blankness of corporate ziggurats, next them
the structural nightmare of over-regulated strawberry fields
and the enormous investment in the bent backs of the peons
but not soon enough for these race-class slaves
below whom are yet more tiers of unregistered souls
in the darkened sectors of south-central,
soils parching under asphalt and all the waters
for ever chemically locked in concrete.

Brought up short on the turn-out rest stop
by the show-cased missing children
next Colonel Saunders and the Rattler Warning,
bound down by the food-outlet tie-ins,
don't pass up the turn-out from the slow lane,

Opt for the corner-store stake-out
among threatening night-persons who riskily dance
with traffic at downtown intersections

Within the ring of fortress malls tinted uniform pink
leaching old trade, dumping volume good
forged in over-the-ocean-rim gulags

                                                        What is a child to see

Through the truthful purity of dust storms
which veil the punished freeway surfaces
and haze a future

                                                        Calling for the gift of childish rains.