Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Yellowstone

by lizard

A few weeks ago, I fled the Missoula valley with my better half for a weekend in the Paradise valley. We spent most of Saturday making a cursory incursion into Yellowstone, and later that night I started writing a poem.

When I write anything of moderate length, it seems my thematic tendencies have a way of creeping in.

For the past two years the project I’ve been working on—a book length poem titled “Z”—has been built around the idea of being at the end of something, something big. The poem I’ve been tinkering with these past two weeks is a good representation of the larger work it’s a part of.

Before getting to the poem, I should mention there is a reference to beings I call the shamans of entropy. I’m not going to say much about them, but I will say they play a prominent, mostly metaphorical role in the larger poem as co-conspirators to the darker forces represented by the Archons. Enjoy!



thermals of sulfurous delight
ooze from the chalky crust
of Yellowstone

soft balls of flesh (humans)
float where boiling river
meets Gardner river

earth in its driest form
dusting off surfaces
at the slightest hint of wind

tell me again how
this is suppose to end
the year losing its light

tell me why political fights
and new slogans slogging
forward for loose change

are going to mean a god
damn thing when the desert rose
bows to the mushroom cloud

when the contract constricts
the last free exhale of breath
unremarked by dim luminaries

of the word—who negotiated
their cages years ago
to include paper certificates

handsomely framed—
when all feels as desolate as
the landscape of Yellowstone

I slip the device from its holster
and shoot like any other
touristy asshole

capturing and enhancing
the arid terrain on my god
damn iPhone

framed before me: green blooms,
elk, smoke-fuzzed mountains
and the human herd

barely cognizant of the absurd
parade we are
rolling down well-worn roads

trapped in the metal coffins
old Ed spat at from
those rust-red bluffs of Utah

O choking air, the west still
burning, and now it’s fall and
time to pray for rain

it’s falling everywhere
that pretense of civility
chasing spirit to rainless cloud

next, the month of masks
after that, cornucopia
and other cranberry-induced clichés

December at the end of it waits
month twelve, twelve years in—
shamans of entropy, are you ready

to blast your trumpets?
to break the final seal?
deals behind steel doors

a boredom of speculation—
a private feast of public blood
we really needn’t wonder about

zombie days are here already
just pull the lynchpin
of pigskin and watch it burn

the couch as fool’s throne
and a screen for each sick mind
leaning into evil winds

that blow, that advertise
an ever creeping contagion
until every cell is comprised

of mitochondrial disease
as above the sky it glows
and blows a nuclear breeze

the emperor’s burning clothes

—William Skink


  1. 1 Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Anticipating April | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Yellowstone […]

  2. 2 152 Poetry Posts to Celebrate April, National Poetry Month | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Yellowstone […]

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