Salton Sea

For Syd & Will

The shallow basin of the Salton Sea,
haven for fish, bugs and salinity,

attracts birds like flies, flies like opposites –
those wayward pairs – opposites like bees

to honey, and there, comparison takes
a well-deserved hiatus as some things can’t be

likened to other things in that good spirit
of fellowship, cauldron where we all get along

“in the soup.” Imagination bonds the worlds
we witness and invent and so the dolly

that can hardly hold her eyes open she’s so
weary of her faux-porcelain veneer, earns

free will, a name, a role, often found
come morning near the door. If I have

a soul-mate in this universe of ideas
larded with syllable, it is eschatology,

study of the end of the world, as I cannot resist
thoughts of the worst, how I’d perish

in a truly Victorian fashion without you,
the way that – why pause, as though I am

considering options when none suffice.
I should adopt the magnolia’s ideology –

folding beauty, slow-motion descent and
demise, though I was raised to be estranged

from nature and resent her lessons, lousy
pedant. I prefer road to green, vehicle

to bloom, and I, nor you, am anything
like a machine, despite politic mumblings

of cogs – you can say cog over and over
but it does not make you round, notched

and oily. So when I see the motorcyclist
legally, blithely navigating the carpool lane

I think, he must contain a multitude,
like Whitman, he must contradict himself

and his parts need have nothing in common
save cooperation to proceed due north. If we are lonely

it’s for destination, the middle-class cousin
of destiny, which prefers to fly in a J-shaped

echelon, trailing luck, flanked by fate
and  the contrary, as there can be no progress

without tension, said Blake and I believe him.
The Salton Sea relies on man at his

eco-worst: aggie run-off, stagnant pools,
no rain to sweeten the pot, too far inland

for property to count while migratory
tourists, with better than human names –

Eared Grebe and the Yuma Clapper Rail –
(“threatened” we are told by do-gooders)

touch down at their favorite stinky resort.
The rider puts up his feet, Apollo

with a muffler doctored so we will know
he exists – I bike, therefore I am –

figure of leisure, of speed, skimming
the divider stripes, no plaguing penchant

for connection beneath a sky that makes
no guarantees, and so must be trusted.