Don’t Waste That Ticket – Go Somewhere!




Insomnia in Tucson

By D. Whistleblows

Standing on the stoop

of Becky’s adobe tri-plex

in the Sonoran winter heat,

I am half earth mother,

the grit lifting up my bare feet

and the birds playing

that people never existed.

The prickly pear’s pads are wasting

along the chain link fence

and the saguaros in the sunsets

are what landing on Mars must be like

and the mesquite trees really do smell

of smoky Texas barbecue.

The train tracks are so close

I could throw this empty IPA bottle

from the front door

and hit a super-C freight car

as it passes.

So, at one am,

when the screaming whistle

shakes the dried mud from the walls

and rips me from my dreams,

I know the dark man of the psyche

is the engineer.

And I know

I could walk outside

blanket in hand

and settle down comfortably

between the rails

in case I need to go back to sleep again

and not wake up.


10 thoughts on “Don’t Waste That Ticket – Go Somewhere!

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    This poem in my opinion is vivid desert and other world symbolism, solitude, Earth and Martian nature reclaiming itself with brief interruptions. The imagery I thought of was that of surgical stitchings, scars upon the land of the ancients, a person half belonging to both nature and to the violation of the modern rails. I felt the sadness, the loneliness without any possilbility of human reclamation. I was left with the question of what is humankind in comparison to the expanse of millions of years? There is a sense to me of the purpose of life being forgotten without it mattering whether the author lives or dies.

  2. Michael Stang says:

    An interesting look at places we do not think much about. The scenes are ethereal, the land is magic albeit described from poverty, although IPA is a few dollars more. The suicide-intent ending was okay ( well told). Rather she (?) had done the deed. Morbid-I, that’s how I take my B-B-Que.

    • Parisianne Modert says:

      Perhaps one of the overlooked jewels here is the expression, “dadme la muerte que me falta” which translates as “give me the death I need”. It comes from “Encargo” by Rosario Castellanos and is a poem I hadn’t read before, but recommend. My suspicion is that the author of “Insomnia in Tucson” asked for the quote from “Encargo” to be included. Regardless of source of offering, “Encargo” is an excellent reference and instantly one of my favorite poems. I would love one of my fluent Spanish speaking friends to tell me more about the nuances of the words.

      • Parisianne Modert says:

        I believe the author is male not female Michael.

        I am shocked by my detective works’ findings and feel humbled and honored if my deductions prove correct as to the identity of this author. If I am wrong, I can state that I have made foolish guesses before, but I am fairly certain. I have sent my guess into Thorn. What fun this contest is!

  3. Diane Cresswell says:

    Very well written. Having lived in Arizona – this one took me right to the scenery that lives and breathes there. Nice rhythm to the reading even with the ending being dark. Nice.

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    As any contest proceed I often return to those stories and poems I consider to be among the best offered. I believe this poem is worthy of finalist consideration.

    In addition, I have purchased, “The Selected Poems of Rosario Castellanos”. I recommend this poetry book which is Spanish left side with an English translation on the right side in an opened position.

  5. Parisianne Modert says:

    Now that the contest is over I can say that I am almost 100% sure I have met the author and had my hand kissed by him not once, but twice. One of my two thrills in this contest was reading this poem several times. I am humbled that such a great novelist would share such an incredible poem with us. Gracias desde mi corazón al suyo.

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