of poverty


Cloyd Campfire

(November 2008) 

     Reckoning with poverty ain't so bad.  When you find yourself standing by yourself in the middle of the desert, owning nothing but the outfit on your back, it ain't so bad.

     Although your 58-year-old bones are creaking with age & there's no coin in your pocket & no pension in your future, there's still something sacred about it ~ 'cuz in this dark cold world the firey sun is rising while the full moon is setting.  Can you picture that?  And between the moon & the sun, above your head, you can still see the seven stars of the big dipper shining.  All of this is happening at the same time.  And the creosote smells good out there ~ real good.

     I was lucky.

     The day before, walking along Highway 71, nobody wanted to pick me up, although my thumb was out.  The highway, miles and miles of it, was a straight shot over the horizon.  The sun right in front of me was sinking sinking gone.  And there I was alone in the desert night.  Just standing there.  But the full moon was already up in the sky behind me, and this is what made this moon child, yours truly, lucky.  The moon, this moon o' mine, was one bright lamp in the sky!

     So I kept walking up the long long highway ~ until it was a bad idea to keep walking & sat down.  In the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night, there sat I next to a lonesome highway with nobody else on it.  The world was vast.  I was vulnerable.  There might be mountain lions out here sneeking up on me in the liquid shadows.

     So I made a little fire to perhaps frighten away beasts of prey ~ and got comfortable ~ maybe too comfortable.  What if a cop came along.  One was about due.  He might give me a ticket for making a sparkly little fire.  I picked up the dead wood I'd gathered & my stuff, and crawled under the highway fence into the formidable desert proper.  Out there behind a creosote bush, I began to make another little fire.  But before the fire back by the highway died, there he was next to it in his patrol car ~ Mr. Long Arm Of The Law.

     He stepped out of his metal cocoon.  He stood bold, brave, over the fire ~ a small Indian fire all by itself out there.  How'd it get there?  The police officer began shining a flash-light all over the place.  I ducked low.  Thank my lucky Big Dipper stars I hadn't lit the new fire yet.  The cop kicked the old fire out.  He got back into his rolling cocoon, petulantly spinned the tires on the highway bank ~ and was gone.

     He did good.  He did real good ~ looking out for the desert, the people in it, keeping everything safe.  And I didn't get a ticket.  Would he come back looking for ~ me?   Nah.

     And later, while the mighty moon was setting and the fiery sun was rising, above it all the Big Dipper poured & poured a "good morning" twilight delight into this cup o' dreams...



The real Chewy Sunset unmasked!


top photo:


el chihuahua:

Suzanne Renaud


and if you wanna reminiscence political:

The Davy Crockett Reincarnated Almanac 2001-2008

by Cloyd Campfire


or take a step in another direction:
Going To Prescott
by Cloyd Campfire


or swim to my old U.S. Army campsite: