Too Much . . .

Billy Dean


We drove out here from the city
To get back to nature
And write poetry.

But you are still too much with me.

You and your metabolic processes,
Symbiotic relationships,
And semantic cages for rats who hop like kangaroos.

If you were not here,
I would see the puzzled look on the face of those rocks
Towering over me in that steel-blue sky.

But your tectonic plates
And molten, geologic theories
Blind me to the suffering that compelled these boulders
To shoulder their way to the surface--
Worlds ago.

I drove out here from the city
To meet the yucca and its moth
To shake hands with the cactus who jumps.
To make friends with the lizard
Who dreams on lichen-carpeted stones.

But you are still too much with me.

If I had come alone,
I would know why the green snake sleeps in the shade
And what lizards dream of
In their blue-bellied shadows.

The wind singing to the pinyon pine?
The bright, blue voice of the jay?
Both are buried in the noise of your reason
Under a pile of paper and study.

Without you,
This old juniper would have told me
Why she stands alone with only her needles
To face a hot sun, an empty sky,
A cold, dry wind.

We drove out here
-You and I-
One bimetallic strip
With two very dissimilar
Coefficients of expansion and contraction.
You, full of your map and its lines,
Me, empty of my pen and its power.

If I had left you home,
We both would have discovered
Where the wind is going,
What it will say to the next canyon,
And why the buckwheat are nodding
Their red-haired heads in the wake of its breath.

My eyes are hungry
For those hawks circling overhead.
And my skin aches to touch
That wild grass swaying at my feet.

But you are still too much with me
To hear the smile dancing
In those yellow little flowers.
Or see the desert trumpet
Call her wasp home for the night.
Or smell the green swords of the Mojave
Cut the air with silence.

I drove out here to be alone with my heart.
To play with my imagination.
To hear with my eyes, and see a sound.
To taste a touch, and feel a scent-
To cross over

But you are still too much with me...

Billy Dean