The sky's the color of my old blue jeans,
and the land is pulled tight by drought.
All the fields are perfectly smooth,
planed and drawn and quartered
by old farmers and good ol' boys
in their diesel-smoking tractors,
and everything is boxed off
into barbed-wire squares.
They say the air is clean and pure,
but there's an overwhelming smell
coming from every corner of the town:
it reeks of sheep piss and cheap booze,
smoldering hostility and burning books,
dirty laundry and minimum-wage sweat.
People say they can't smell it at all,
but I can't take a single rotten breath.
My neighbors' bodies are neat and clean,
but their brains are caked with the dust
of generations of low hopes and ignorant fear;
their lives were fossilized well before birth.
The tight minds of the old men
who run this town are walled in Biblical rock;
their thoughts are locked against the chaotic
joys of the weird, the wild and the young.
This place is little more than a roadcut,
and the stratification is plain to see.
Little white people live in big white houses
that stretch out like blank limestone slabs
bleaching on the sunny southern side of town.
But on the north side, peeling clapboard shacks
that contain the unfortunate children of Spain
sit like worn and crumbling sandstone fragments.
And here I sit, trapped between the strata,
a misplaced bit of flint or gneiss or granite,
an arrowhead from some alien tribe lodged
mysteriously amid these prehistoric layers
that bear down with unrelenting pressure
until keen edges are ground into gray sand.
So I'll drive out to some big, flat ranch,
strip down to the pink to let my skin breathe,
and I'll dance for pleasure, I'll dance for rain,
I will dance for lightning, I will dance for pain,
I'll scream out at the emptiness until my lungs bleed
and try for the volume that will make the fossils stir
deep in the sterile ground and rise to the surface,
hard skeletal denizens of a long-dried ocean swimming
through layers of rock, wreaking a tectonic tsunami
that will shock the city from its flatland coma.
And if the rancher drives out, armed
with a shotgun and a look of confusion,
then I will just smile at him and say
that I'm just trying to make some waves.