forest priestess

a weirdtakoyaki photo story & cloyd campfire memoir

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All kinds of growth poking up out of the rot, here, in this Ponderosa Pine forest at the edge of the little city of Prescott, Arizona.  Lots of trees verily verily tall.  The wind keeps blowing but only touches the tops of the trees ~ and sings its song ~

To me.

What’s so important about me? Nothing. And everything. A remnant of Walt Whitman’s song to democracy.

Lordy Lordy, thank-you for getting me out here ~ out here where I don’t belong. Ask the deer. They’ll tell you I don’t belong here. Ask the ranger. He’ll tell you the same.

I didn’t know what I was doing, but You, oh Lordy Lordy Lord Jehovah, got me out here anyway ~ camoflauged away from the highway, which sings its motorola song down below my own true-blue knob of silent granite outcrop, behind which I have pitched my tent, here on the mountain side that I share with the birds and the deer, the rotting logs, pine needles & pine cones & all these tall tall trees.

Which reminds me of Diana, the forest priestess from Portland, Maine. Thinking about her, the mountain chill no longer bothers me. Suddenly, I like it!

~

~

A soft lump of gooey play-doe in the bottom of my belly is all thats left of the hard brick of jealousy that once long ago reigned in my chest ~ over the flesh & blood woman who is now the idolized priestess who rules deep in the night ~ especially here in the forest when the wind has stopped blowing and the quietude is topless & bottomless. It’s a slice of the pie of the mystical reality of reality that I am now a slave to the etheral priestess ~

Diana!

She, a newly-arrived PFC in the U.S. Army, took me jogging thru the snow-flake-ed woods at Fort Ben Harrison, Indiana, in the frost-bitten January of ’81. I was hung-over. I couldn’t keep up. And my 30-year-old wang-dang froze off.

Diana!

She was 28 years old, long legged, long haired, and long over-due and I don’t mean pregnant. She was way ahead of everybody else & nutty as a fruitcake. T’was I who was her chosen slaughter.

Two years later, up on the Presidio Military Post in Monterey, California, disenchanted with barracks life & unwilling to put up with other women, Sp5 Diana pitched her tent in a woody grove of the military post.  She actually knew how to live in solitude  while in the U.S. Army. When I finally caught up to her, she told me of how a deer with whom she lived in this patch of pine trees would eat out of her hand.

Diana!

cloyd campfire 2010

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photos courtesy of weirdtakoyaki

http://weirdtakoyaki.deviantart.com/art/These-Wilds-of-Mine-262671988

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back desert trail

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In a small cafe of this strange strange land, there appeared one day a long-legged, blue-eyed & blond widow of a deceased Papago Indian.  She darted here & there in her new work-place, a timid critter full of curiosity & wonder.

That beauty is gonna give some poor sucker ’round here a real heart thrashing, I thought, as I bit into a burger & gulped down some hot coffee.

Little did I know, that sucker was I.  And little did I suspect that this 42-year-old, chunky-shouldered damsel was the ethereal Desert Goddess ~ personified!

So 48-year-old me wasn’t thinking much about this long-haired blond gal who come to work in the little cafe in the little crossroad where I sold books outta the Book Mule.  I was just minding my own business.  But, as it turned out, I kind of looked like her late husband whose memory she lingered upon, & who had died less than a year before she & I had a conversation or two.  Then I got hoodwinked into going to a birthday party where she showed up.  And then one night I stopped by the bar where she was “grieving” and she bought me a beer.  And then, and thennnnnnn, the desert goddess coyly rubbed up to me as we sat a ponderin’ on our bar-stools.

The next day, there we were in the desert of my dry dusty dreams come true.  I had parked the Book Mule in one of my hideouts that was lost in cacti & solitude.  And two lonesome souls went on a little stroll.

We embraced ~ and I boldly fell to my knees.

As the world turned, the delicious dianthus of my desert delusions decided she didn’t want anybody to know about us ~ because if the Indian clan of her late husband suspected that we were “seeing each other” before her “grieving” year was up they might murder us.  So she decreed that we could not be seen together in public.  Then she declared that I could not talk to her in front of anybody.  Plus, she demanded that I not go see her ~ or even call her.  My beloved would come see me.

So, after she got off work & became properly inebriated at the local saloon, I would on occasion hear her sandals come a crunching in the gravel, in the still nocturnal hours, outside the Book Mule, inside of which I slept ~ in my “monk cell.”  Incidentally, behind this cell, thru a narrow door, was the book store, which was quite original & quite a store.  It’s amazing what you can do with an old one-ton Ford van.  And it’s amazing how elated I became when I heard the gravel crunch outside.  At first barely audible ~ the crunch step by step crunched closer ~ louder louder ~ and then ~

The melancholy voice of the Desert Goddess still reverberates across the Sonoran silent-night of my mind:

“Chewy,

are

you

in

there?”

~

 Slave

to the

Desert Goddess

by Cloyd Campfire

(2000 A.D.)

~ 1 ~

Chewy Sunset, thee
old hobo, knelt at
Her
  nail-cracked sandaled feet ~

Upon that terrain
from which grows
cacti
creosote and mesquite ~

And thru which meanders
jack rabbits, dry washes
& the unpaved
Pipeline Road ~

About a mile from which
this strange drama
did
unfoad…

~

~ 2 ~

Yeeeeeeeap, swathed in
the singing silence &
dry
summer heat ~

Chewy Sunset
knelt at
Her
immaculate feet ~

To pull a thorn
outta
Her
toe ~

After which occurance
Her eyes
magnified their
inherent glow…

~

~ 3 ~

She was divine-
ly
fine-
ly blessed ~

With long legged
long blond
earth-
iness ~

Frill free
Salvation Army fare
was
Her dress ~

Which detracted not
one tithing
from
Her worthiness ~

She wore a crown of
nothing
but memories
of thee humility ~

Of wifehood to
an Indian bully
a-flirt
with criminility ~

While isolated for years
on thee olde
Indian
reservation ~

Now widowhood in
a tiny desert town was
Her
current station ~

A beauty was She
whose child-like
smile
would never grow old ~

She gazed down upon Chew
thru
slashing blue
eyes made bold ~

By his
ob-
vious
dedication ~

To
Her
desert goddess
radiation…

~

~ 4 ~

Her catharsistic eyes
of
splintering
blue ~

Cast
a
paradisical
hue ~

From which
there
was
no escape ~

Across the
arid
land-
scape ~

Yea, these immensely talented
eyes also melted down
the poor
old boy ~

Who had stayed a-kneel
at Her feet
like some kind of
thrift shop toy ~

Yea, Her eyes melted him down
into
the
desert ground ~

‘Til he heard the
desolate land’s
every
sound ~

From deep in a burrow
the snor-
ing of
a squirrel ~

To the dancing vibration
of
a distant
dust devil’s swirl ~

From chanting ants to
a cactus’s
deep
toe-wiggling feet ~

From horizon
to horizon
Her kingdom played
a cacophony replete ~

Chewy fanned out deep
into the terra firma ’til
he be-
come a part of it all ~

A new mineral deposit en-
slaved to the
Desert Goddess’s
siren call…

~

~ 5 ~

Yeeeeeeeap, there
Chewy Sunset lay
gravel buffed by wind
dirt fine as dust ~

A real part of
the land
or
bust ~

A rattlesnake limp in the
heat, crawled across the spot
looking
for shade ~

The Desert Goddess crushed
the critter’s head with
Her foot
n’ silently bade ~

Them both not to follow
Her and
walking on air
She wandered away ~

Then toward
the end
of
the day ~

Quite a few
miles
a-
way ~

She entered the
local saloon
to
slay ~

An endless thirst
and an endless sorrow
for the end of which
Chewy doth pray.

~

~

photos

Raquel Welch

~

(text copyright Clyde Collins 2012, 2017)

~

Back Desert Trail

http://backdeserttrail.yolasite.com/we-the-people.php

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