the broadside series


Blue Fifth Review
Volume VI. Issue 5
July 2006

Photography by Jackie Sheeler

Vicki Hudspith
( New York, New York )

poem and audio link


I cannot fall in love with you 
because the sun is shining
and you only love what youíve lost.
Only feel what you donít have.
I cannot fall in love with you
because you wonít let me.

I cannot fall in love with you
because I heard on the car radio
that kissing is the portal to intimacy
and you wonít kiss me.

I canít fall in love with you
because youíre just like
the last guy I fell in love with
and that didnít go so well.

I cannot fall in love with you.
An unhealthy obsession with the horizon
already has me climbing chairs 
to watch the sun as it slams against a red rock mesa
and vanish in its shadowy arms.

Perhaps I could love you 
from the stone tub filled with steaming hot springs water
drawn from the mountain  
by a soft spoken girl in early evening.

Across the pueblo, doors are left open
and night is brought in with the laundry
to keep it from the dust roads.

I could love you there I think
after the earthen tub leeches the stinging 
from my back
and releases me from desiccated dreams.
You would never recover from my love
it would change you forever.
You are right to surround yourself with armed guards,
their loose change handshakes 
need your oxygenated air like a casino at bedtime.

For you, the hills crumble like
rumors, blow thick in the red dust
and collect in the shallows of your lungs.

This is why loving you is out of the question.
As a moral man shops for a wife, a companion
You seek the teacher.
Itís over before it begins.

On the road into Zuni,
Coyote eats road kill at high noon,
no regard for traffic,
the combustion engine and gas prices.

Were you ever with a woman 
you didnít feel superior to?
If so, did you collapse around
her ankles like an unredeemed liter bottle?

Desert wind blows an 18 wheeler
Tumbleweed stampedes the highway.
Itís sundown and Iím thinking of you
as I roll into this town
that Dylan claimed and where cowboy movies were made.
The last town before the reservation.
I can almost see you march into the thirsty morning
as natural as a predator with no enemies.
A man with collapsing ankles
and a wife that walks at night under a big Western sky.
Respect the distances, Iím thinking.

Between you and me is another town 
where the freezing carcass of a casino
is crawling with good luck hyenas.
Like any dark morning
filled with the infidelity of our ancestors
I savor the fattened promises even as they leak.

Oh, I could love you or I could go through the motion, 
a woman whose shoes match her jewelry
so as not to misstep on Sunday morning
and cause a murmur to spread through town. 
The river overflows its banks.

Behind the last bar, near the courthouse
the benches are full of peaceful drunks.
Tonight the moon will smile against common sense.
Iíve gone to the end of the line so many times 
I could prove the world is flat.
It's only a matter of time till he comes back
and it starts all over again.

Wild horses capture grace twice on Sunday.
You take what you need.
I cannot love you
because a circle is a complete shape
and thereís no cell phone reception at the bottom of the well.

I fell asleep under a picture of leafy greens
with the desert pressing handprints
against my forehead.  

Red mountain sundown and though I cannot love you,
when you return, I will give you more than these bone-dry words.
Because the coyote canít help what he eats.
Note: Music by Daniel Freedman

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