Desert Rocks

The streets swell in summer—
filled with sweat and dirt and
stained yellow of spilt garbage.

You can’t hear the children playing
for the droning traffic
and the frequent rumble of passenger jets

that drown out their voices.
You know what its like
to be swallowed.

The heat reminds you of many
terrible memories, but we won’t
speak about those today.

Leaves stir
in the thick hot breeze
when the earth gasps for breath.

It’s no wonder
the desert floors are barren
and all the rocks are painted red.

Someone’s got a greasy black gun
and they’ve tucked it in their
sweat-soaked waistband—

I don’t have to tell you how the story ends,
only that the streets will look a lot like desert rocks
when it’s all over.

In the summertime its hard to tell
the difference between sweat and

23 thoughts on “Desert Rocks”

  1. egbertstarr says:

    I like the lines that start out about the “greasy black gun” the best. I wonder, though, if you really need the very last stanza? That way you don’t tell how the story ends, and the very last word of your poem becomes “over” which is pretty cool. Just a thought!

  2. OfficalBee says:

    Much love and support from one writer to another. Check out my recent poems i would be honored to have your support and opinion

  3. Baijen says:

    I live in a very hot country so can very much appreciate the sentiments of this piece of work.

  4. Merryn says:

    It somehow made me think of the atrocities in places like Nigeria. The victims are often taken without the rest of the world noticing for a while. Clever piece of writing.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks for your insight. That’s a very interesting, definitely would not have been my first thought but I see how you made the correlation. Most people would be amazed of the atrocities that take place every day around us that go unseen and unheard.

      1. Merryn says:

        I think I made that connection because of the deep sadness I have felt over the slayings in Nigeria. In the West we go to pieces over one or two dying but we are not too sure what to do and how to process 100+ deaths. Life seems so devalued.

  5. Lisette says:

    I very much like that this is in the second person, as if I (the reader) am actually there. Wonderful imagery. I’ve never heard a gun being described as greasy, which is why it stood out so much. I like that your lines are almost like prose. Very confronting.

    1. John Foster says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your feedback!

  6. Scott says:

    Thanks for following. You have a feel for words. Nice poem.

    1. John Foster says:

      My pleasure. Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

  7. Cassie says:

    This is lovely! Your writing is fantastic. Thanks for following me as well. :)

  8. Alecia Writes says:

    I enjoyed reading this, great writing.

  9. Sher says:

    I love this.

  10. moylomenterprises says:

    Deep. Thought provoking. Left me mixed emotions.

    We spend so much time being locked away all winter that now as Summer is here we should be enjoying our freedom to mingle and instead the news blasts us with stories of violence — A shooting here, there, everywhere! So senseless, so disturbing, so annoying that folks just don’t know how to act civilly — like wild animals in need of being caged — so sad…

  11. mike and brandy says:

    living in phoenix as we do I identify with the hot temps. good poem and thx for the follow.

  12. marybaxter says:

    Gorgeously written! All centred around that greasy black gun.

  13. brysonhatfield says:

    I appreciate that the subject matter of this was handled with such obvious care and tenderness while at the same time you as the reader have a chance to really feel how visceral and real and gritty all of these very specific flashing moments are. I really love this. It’s very synesthetic.

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