At Night on the Deck Testing Mindfulness
Floodlight, a night garden.
Plants native to this wet earth
casting shadows under halogen glow,
as roots find refuge through the heat
in a high water table;
July and dry August dragonflies
sharing air with insects
he has no name for,
as they only fly this small lake
barely out there, a black pause
beyond a reach of light.
Awkward in this forced repose
his goal, his need, they tell him,
to do nothing. No book,
no background music,
no distraction of yet another
grasping love—slow this racing mind.
On the bright deck,
the chaise lounge is a hair shirt,
as he strives for quiet mind
in clouds of hungry insects
drawn to light, drawn to sweat,
his thoughts somewhere between silence
Just let go to this ultimate quieting
of matter, of garden to mind.
To see beyond this halo,
beyond the frame his life
has been stretched against. Look
to the dry silhouette of branches:
Douglas fir, alder, and cottonwood.
He has everything and he envies himself
to distraction. He envies his beautiful things
to destruction. How he wants to tarnish
his exquisite taste, this deck, garden of light.
He cannot live in this house he was born into,
building of flesh and blood.
He shouts this out through the light
into the dark, across the small lake. It carries
across without the solace of echo.
Just this neutral pause
that could go one way
Green dotted byways:
scenic routes driven into
this waste. Land torn asunder,
desert West, austere tooth grit
of blasted taverns and sand promises.
Body pressed to body, inebriation
of what we can only deem as simple
inebriation. Nothing more. No less.
Just creosote, blackened limbs
hang-dogged in this ridiculous heat.
Dreams of blank slate memory.
The click of the odometer,
gathering miles, as you shed
those traumas you've caused,
crushed like desert pests
introduced to windshield physics
splattered at the dream of
I rely on nothing but
sallow joy in movement.
Pockets empty of everything,
even my most beloved lint.
Pressed against polyester
the motel blanket resolves
any ambiguity as to my true situation:
separated by thin walls and my thin lies,
a small parking lot rare with rain,
so very loud as doors slam against
the thin air of a gaping need
disguised as anger. A loud voice seething
Crystal, you’re fucking going home
with me. Now!
The comforting clang and shudder
of the ice machine: I watch
as somebody's grandmother
pushes the lever, large thighs and ass
breasts spilling like milk
into this warm night.
I dream of her soft embrace
in this room made more enormous
by each tick of the motel clock.
I want to ask her, loud enough to penetrate
these thin walls, but not too loud:
Please hold me in place until morning.
Each mile burnishes a layer of residue.
Stopping brings it back, an easy patina
brushed thick like varnish in the hands of a hack.
I once could count on my affect
to fall within that acceptable range.
Now I only drive away
from the variance.
BIO: Rod Peckman lives in the
My inspiration: "I stopped writing for 17 years. I’m still trying to figure that one out. In short, my inspiration to write again was trauma, and writing was my way of getting my health back. It is too trite to say writing saved my life; but not an overstatement to say it played a crucial role."
MOTIVATION For Each Work:
"At Night..." : constant struggle
"Variance": the dream of escape smacks headlong into the starkness of alone.
Photo by: Ostillac Callisto