Prompt 4, Ode to the Desert, and Melanie Rae Thon

Posted by admin on March 17, 2016


“The Good Samaritan Speaks,” by Melanie Rae Thon conjures the Sonoran dessert, my childhood home. And then bursts it apart, renders, anatomizes and sends its pieces out across the universe. The poem reminded me of how once this desert was my universe, how layers of rock could be the desert’s bones, how seeds could explode into webs of meaning. The poem weaves an incantatory spell and evokes a time of the senses, before words such as good and bad could circumscribe and shut down wonder and observation. It evokes a forgotten ability to look between a larger horizon, “fourteen billion years of sound,” to the smallest physical details, as well as a forgotten ability to constellate the dots – to connect the earth to a larger design or ethics or morality. I was so excited to offer this small potent piece of writing up as our fourth prompt. Like the precious agave fruit of the poem, I knew its seeds would take root.

I love how Andy Burgess, and Angie Zielinski were moved by left overs: old postcards, and cast off paper fragments. Through careful acts of looking these objects were reframed into something ecstatic in the case of Zielinski’s starlight stitches, which rise from the Grand Canyon; and into something beautifully meditative in the case of Burgess’s gridded desert landscape. Kristin Simonsen’s doves with their traces of failed flight conjure, for me, the boy waving the gun and the good Samaritan’s acceptance of his fear. The textures of Holly Robert’s collage, the fox body made from grasses and roots, play with the interconnection of near and far, close up and long shot, as do Theresa Ganz’s rock faces, which point to the delightful reality that we are both grounded here on earth and floating in space. Wendy Thon’s red leaves, when looked at carefully can unfold into great red winged bats! Our precision of focus is rewarded again when the big horn sheep appears like a tiny star inside the wired mesh fence of Mark Klett’s divided landscape. Corinne Teed, our final responder gathers this all together. Her field guide invites and reminds us to use our senses first: to touch, to feel. Then to observe with both magnifying glass and our own wild constellating minds. Happy explorations!

Jennifer Colville

Editor in Chief