Methamphetamine's chemical formula is C10H15N. 

Much of the Universe's nitrogen is a product of supernovae, in which carbon and hydrogen fuse.  The thing exchanged is a proton; the ejected light is enough to be gathered by mirrors nine billion years later.

Neurotransmitters--mostly nitrogen and hydrogen--pass between brain cells, spurring electricity.  Thoughts occupy physical space, are physical processes, have physical consequences.




Most people who bother to visit the Sonoran do so in Spring.  This is when the poppies are up and the buckwheat is green and the prickly pear is flowering and the ephemeral grass stands out in the runnels like tied-off veins under skin.

Otherwise, in a period when many of us spend the equivalent of a part-time job being pandered to, it's a dead, ugly space. The only plants not burned into gray-black dendritic shapes are the ones with white leaves

There are many ways to be an extremophile.  You can live in very high temperatures, live in very low temperatures, go without food, go without water, go without many things.

Oxytocin's chemical formula is C43H65N12O12S2. It's a big molecule, as the alive ones often are. It's shaped to fit into cells; it's a physical agent in a physical process, released and accepted when you meet who you believe to be your parent, when you fall in love, when close people die, when you meet your kids. 





Things people have told me about my brother:

  • He has the same name as our dad.
  • He was polite and quiet and scared of our dad.
  • He was born in August too.
  • He grew up in Bakersfield.
  • He robbed three Wal-Mart stores to get money for meth and it was his third strike.

Things I have observed about my brother:

  • The people who leave little things on his Facebook page seem nice enough.
  • His wife and kids don't know how to stand in photos without him.





Oxytocin fits into pleasure receptors, same as meth.

In one of his more lucid correspondences, my dad explained that my brother was suited for prison, that he thrived in such situations. I took "such situations" to be accidental shorthand for "in violence and paranoia," but didn't say as much. My dad still can't spell my wife's name.

I have some guesses as to what it was like to inhabit the sulphurous column that must have been his attention.  He would not tell me what he had been doing the last near-thirty years, but brain injury evidences. He remembers that he has spoken to me.

Of course I love him, both of them. The signals have been cast. Physical processes.





Chaparral country is meth country.  It is a dead, ugly space into which one can disappear.

Men fresh from land auctions gather the stuff of exploding stars from Walgreens, Stater Brothers, Home Depot.

Their work--mostly carbon and hydrogen--passes between brain cells, spurring electricity.