At places of prayer old
and new
a young me walked
and grazed
with his fingers
The dimples and bumps
of pillars hewn
and curves carved
from rocks
grey with age, mottled
white with wisdom –
the only Wisdom
he learned
in those hallowed spaces
was the stony Silence
that stands and watches.

Dusk falls faster
every day
sheltering dark comes quicker.

Rows of towering palms,
those signposts of eternal summer,
stand mute and windless.

Yet their shadows on the sidewalk,
ever-lengthening zebra-stripes
of hot and cool

speak and susurrate
of a coming change.

Of the impending chill
and the shimmering shadows that signal


Time to hibernate, to hunker down;
acorns in hollows, heartbeats
of burrowers slowing and plodding.

You would think.

Not in the Valley of the Sun.

where her looming shadow demands
not silence of the soul,
not surrender to night.

Rather, a reawakening.

For, in the Valley of the Sun
winter means life and
shade means



Implacable and red

the Desert lay siege
Upon the Island of glass and neon
In waves of heat
And shimmering white.

On these shores of perpetual war
The weary traveler
His head bowed, eyes lowered,
Hair bleached, skin brown


Her damp tresses,
Those moist curls of invitation;
Out of reach, black.