Giddyup & Go: Conferences, Seattle & Reno

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The past month has been the Month of Conferences.  First, there was UNLV’s Far West Popular Culture conference.  Then so much traveling: five days in Seattle for AWP, followed by a 7-hour road trip (with three poets, no less) to Reno for UNR’s On the Brink conference.  Y’all know I love to see things I ain’t never seen.  Highlights include Seattle’s Space Needle & Chihuly Glass Gardens, the drive down the Loneliest Road in America, and Lake Tahoe.


1 – The view from the Space Needle

2 – Chihuly Glass Gardens

3 – Walker Lake on the drive from Vegas to Reno

4 – Lake Tahoe

5 & 6 – Goldfield, Nevada; a nearly-deserted almost-ghost town on the way to Reno

Reasons to be (un)Afraid of the Wild West

Perhaps it is because I have never been missed.  They have never had the chance to miss me, my neighbors and coworkers and classmates.  Two days gone, two weeks gone: nothing.  But permanence is at stake, and the threat of life without livelihood.  I am unused to being missed by anyone not strictly on the level of close family, a self-selecting club of three.  But even they have only had the option to miss for weeks at most; here it has been four months I have lived on my own,  two thousand miles from all those folks doing all that missing.

You don’t ask cowboys what they’re running from.  Not unless you want ’em to saddle up and move along.  Funny, what I miss is the place in which I was most temporary.  Ground not yet accustomed to the weight of me, weather still surprising, folks easily delighted, snakecharmer that I am.  The itch of boots is no novelty, though, and eventually I will wear through the soles of every space I inhabit.

Telephones house confession boxes and whispered sonnets but poets do not love me.  People laugh at how you talk in your new city.

John Wayne compares every city to home and likes the cut of none of them, but home ain’t home no more.

Perhaps it is because my Nana plays hide-and-seek games with the objects I left in my rush to abandon Jonesboro.  Or because the hometown I felt unfit for wants me back.  There is a reluctance on the part of the tumbleweed to do much other than ramble.  It is no ficus.

Road Trippin

1- Driving into Estes Park, Colorado
2-5- Driving out of (& almost dying in) the Rockies
6- Glenwood Canyon (still Colorado)
7- Colorado’s mesas
8-12- On the Strip
13-17- Fremont lights
18- What bitches
19-22- Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon
23- Lake Mead in Arizona
24- Driving through Oklahoma

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