YOSEMITE by Brenda Yaman
EMILY AS THE CAMPFIRE GATHERS THE BRANCH
by Darren C. Demaree
Swimming deeper into the night, the softness
left the scene when we were able to form a name
for the fire, when we were able dip the flowers
from the garden into the fire without cause or care,
we knew then that all we had done was create
hunger and give hunger a name we could say
with smoke in our eyes. Turning away, cowardly,
I dragged my hand across my face to wipe the chase
of the tendrils to my sweater. Emily added more
wood the to the flame, she changed the shape
of the mouth in the pit, flushed the sparks towards
the cuff of our pants. She loves doing that shit.
JOSHUA TREE by Brenda Yaman
by Brian Rogers
Blake was not one of those artists who saw creative clouds roiling on the horizon, but every so often he got a yearning for the desert. He would load up the truck with firewood and beer. This was not Christ in the desert, deprivation and fasting. In earlier days Blake would bring along a joint and be reminded of Charlie Sheen. In preparation for his role in Platoon, Sheen had gotten high in the desert with Oliver Stone, right around the time U2 went to the desert themselves and released Joshua Tree. Those were the days when Blake had fashioned a sculpture series called "Sea, Sand, and Stone" that was well received. One critic had gone so far as to call it "brilliant," and Blake was featured in a number of magazines. Then Maria left him.
It was a two hour drive before the yucca trees began appearing. Blake pulled off the road and set up camp in a familiar spot, far from any telephone poles or other human objects. He was not uncomfortable being alone. He did not fear having a sudden heart attack and his body being plucked apart by desert coyotes. He pitched his tent and read for a while and watched the shifting colors of the sky. When night came he built the fire and thought about his boys, both grown and living out of state. He thought about Maria. "Collateral damage," she had called herself. She had remarried. He had not.
The rains came in the middle of the night, heavy desert rainfall, sudden and sustained. Blake was a seasoned camper. He did not seek refuge in the truck. He listened as the rain rattled against the top of the tent, a ratapatpat that sounded like artillery fire. Blake knew that the yucca trees were sucking in water for storage and survival.
In the morning he emerged from the tent and took in the yucca. To his eye they appeared as barbed wire and other bits of galvanized steel, bent into shape but looking nothing like a crown of thorns.