UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY - 04/2012

JANETTE AYACHI

Love and Insomnia in Las Vegas
(For Natalie)


(i)
The sky so low you could walk into it
                      Barstow’s breath glazed over my skin like doughnut icing
                                            the taste of sugar and sand on my lips.
On the 15 to Las Vegas
                      swallowed by the density of the desert mouth
                                            my voice recorder had collapsed
under the heat of the sun.
                      Through the night I wrote indefinitely running the gas of my lighter,
                                            the car headlights like nostrils snorting
the white lines of the freeway.
                      Las Vegas is the place that never sleeps,
                                            we cruise the strip chased by morning
and a multitude of wide awake faces
                      stared in through the glass.
                                            We reach our room just in time
for my first Nevada state sunrise,
                      sunlight sprayed through aerosols across the wall of the sky,
                                            so I held your hand to laugh at God
and his proclivity for graffiti.

(ii)

                      Early traffic sweeps through the state,
                                            the floorboard freeway dusty with debris,
the boulevard is buzzing with;
happy      drunks
sickly sober     wired addicts     clumsy lovers     Asian tourists
speed-freak security guards     hookers     hustlers    greedy gamblers
sly Mexicans     ghetto gangs     cowboy truckers
And they all     sing     casino chants     amplifying the chorus.
Buzzing now like a victorious post-war vibration,
                      crowds of people all costumed accordingly
                                            impersonating effects of ecstasy.
We took our place in the hive and joined the niche of clumsy lovers,
                      like a swarm of bees we buzzed sticking close to the centre
                                            honey-coated, money-coated,
the sunflower rising, our pollen addiction.

(iii)

                      Las Vegas, built over the engine of the Earth,
                                            and love we have found in each other matches it’s
heart beat blasting through the bonnet of the boulevard.
                      A cardiac arrest culture, accelerated, accident prone.
                                            Reflections repeat in rear-view mirrors
and we gambled our feelings the way we gamble our gold,
                      the more we gave away the less we had to lose.
                                            Neon flashes x-ray our billboard shadows,
an ignition stirred, but even the Mustang yawns
                      for the place and people never sleep
                                            and the engine is always running.









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