oldie but appropriate.

badlands. badlands of strange everything,
purged swiftly outward and upward--that dustbowl
kind of weaving.

badlands in my dreams, in tornado-mill dialect,
outward and up and backward. teeming.
there is a tint to the light, a lilt, a face upward, a feel.

things just flatten. they flatten out, like this, like tomatoes.
like it's more cold, colder, like during that time, or during
that time of night. a crick in the neck. all creepy-like.

rest assured badlands are antiquated through their own color.
badlands are entirely self-reflexive, but, like, more sandy.
you can snooze like that all day, out there.

badlands are confessional, badlands can keep a secret.
badlands are bald, badlands have a bald spot where,
or, no, like got stung, but, a hornet, right on the top and passed out. badlands passed out.

baldwins are all the same. badlands welcome all tall baldwins.
badlands harbor scientologists and neophysicists and physicians altogether.
badlands are nondiscriminatory in their awkwardness. welcome, actors, welcome.

welcome to the badlands. bienvenito. wilkommen.
things just lose dimension. reflexivity. things color themselves.
bald badlands sure make nature sounds but damn, don't they just darken it all to hell.

things open somewhere deep in the throat. it's like you know
they're there-there there, but not which version. it's like, you know what i mean?
it's like listening through an ear-shaped shell. a marine. a marina.

things are miniature. three canoli go up and in and down and out the bottom.
things go bump and start with postage, and end with a lump in the throat.
things splatter and stain in the back of the pants, unusually bad and bloody down low.

badlands fear changes in the weather. badlands were born this way.
badlands rumble with the afternoon and tumble really big pieces of hair around.
things adjust but badlands just keep being, again and again, when you least expect it.

once, in the badlands, there was a hospital. it fell apart and i kicked it up in the air.
i fucked its head off. right off. a big cat had a hemorrhage in its sleep. it balled up its little fist and punched the hospital square in the jaw. badlands didn't even budge.

another time i tried to take a box of Bazooka into the badlands. then i tried seltzer.
i tried yoga. i tried a story about an old lady in a house, all alone, except for the cripple selling cards. i didn't try very hard at any of these, and so it left.

badlands got up and walked right out of there. they turned to me one last time and said, "you, boy." back on the freeway, things were narrowly avoided and siphoned off in bits. it was frightening to see so much disappear. unreal, really.

for so long, things were tiny. feet and hands, and specks of lead, and nouns.
things were not always so deeply affected by a country cottage; a memoir.
badlands weren't always a bastion for recordkeeping; a stockpile of loose change.

now, badlands just tries to be like everybody else. there are things, they get a laugh, they get along just fine until about three in the afternoon. there is an open eye, a bird statuette in the window. badlands has been dead for years, and still.

some people push their fingers into the soil when it's soft. they straighten up and
bravely step out into rusty wind, uninterested in time of day. others wait at the door
for their dog of a life to come around with a desert in its mouth.

badlands sifting out between old teeth, piling onto the bathroom linoleum,
scattering underneath the radiator. things necessitate language. things flatten.
badlands flatten things around furniture where the old dog lays sleeping.

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