Author Intentionality : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Thought I would give this idea a whirl by posting a poem of mine and then getting your input as to "what it means". Afterword, I will post what originally inspired it, and what I came to later find out it was expressing within me at that time.


Ridges of sandstone

spans and spires

fire in the noon sun rays.

Cities of stone

jut upward among

large, pompous birds;

casted shadows criss-cross

Kaleidoscope cameras aimed

crosshairs locked on the burning furnace.


Around each corner, hallowed holes and

holes being hollowed

Stone arches and natural bridges

blasted, erased to today's shape

by striking ice and slicing winds.

Many come to savor

This beautiful carnage of rocks.


entropy will continue; insistant


plans shows for visitors

not yet born.


Some, however, come on quests

For them this landscape

means much more


than a roll of pictures...

With rigid purpose

An emptiness seen but buried

for fear of confrontation

with the holes in their souls.


Groups of two shoes tiptoe

through the living ground-

not dead, these pinks, whites, and reds

they cover shoelaces and the

Soles of shoes.

Balanced rocks and Colorado-carved


howl out directions, ruling the land

maliciously manipulating the feet

through a maze

of skeletal Junipers and Indian



The afternoon sun

Scourges even the toughest


Who try to hide from the


Nevertheless, men who attempt to cross its spots

traversing among skittish lizards and

Ignorant prickly pears

lose their sight-

Gouged eyeballs roll unimpeded


Hands grasp brows and

Frantically claw the ground-

Thorns sticking, arms flailing

heads with two new holes

lay in the desert.


Balls roll over the edge

An avalanche of boulders

Splintering as they collide in

The blazing valley.

The injured cannot hear where

Their eyes are going

deafened by raw nature.


The valley is depleted of water-

run-off washes in every direction are dry

Dirt shattered

Like spiderwebs in

Broken windsheild glass.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), September 08, 2000


Two images come to mind:

1. An old river and/or a dam

2. The diner in NJ off Route 3 (?) where they filmed the Bounty paper towel commercials. You know the ones with Rosie, played by Rhoda's TV mother, Mrs. Morganstern/Nancy Walker.

Thanks for posting this. It's one for me to go back over again and again. I'm more than a bit dense when it comes to poetry. FWIW, nice work, FS. Very powerful.

-- Bingo1 (, September 08, 2000.


Wow. Thought-provoking. first pass, it seems to reflect the writer's love of the natural beauty of the world and greatly saddened at its demise as it's transformed and replaced by man's imprint. But I'd like to reflect on it some more.

Bingo -- LOL re your interpretation #2. You know, I think you have a talent for a starkly and curiously visual type of poetry or prose. I'd like to see more. :)

-- eve (, September 08, 2000.

Sounds like the Grand Canyon or Anasazi ruins to me.

-- LunaC (, September 08, 2000.

Grand Canyon? (Cause you mention Colorado)

Been there done that...awe inspiring!

-- Peg (too@much.spam), September 08, 2000.

Most of what I got out of it relates to biblical spirituality. FS, I'm sure that wasn't your intention in writing it, but that's what I got of it anyway. Thanks for sharing.

II - "hollowed holes" - the void in the soul. "holes being hollowed" - the rejection of whatever was filling the void. "ice and winds" - suffering thru trials

III - "some...come on quests...means much more than" - perspective, we see what we choose to see. "rigid purpose" - determined to see something. "emptiness...fear...holes in their souls" - searching and not finding, wondering if perspective is reality, the void remains

V - "sun" - God, light. "scourges" - convicts. "creatures" - all of mankind. "who try to hide from" - mankind won't face what God calls reality. "sword" - the Word of God. "nevertheless...lose their sight" - believers in Christ who surrender to His will and plan for their life will exchange their visible, human sight for invisible, spiritual sight. "while...grasp...claw...sticking..." - while others (either saved or unsaved) are still groping in the darkness searching for the light they've rejected.

VI - "injured cannot hear" - if one doesn't have the Spirit of God, they can't hear, and won't be able to see light, only darkness

VII - "depleted of water" - the soul dies, lacking eternal life

-- (, September 08, 2000.

Colorado-carved and "large pompous birds" (as in helicopters), among other clues.

-- LunaC (, September 08, 2000.

Sounds like too much Meth and Tequila while partying at the river in Parker, AZ.

-- I (h@ve.spoken), September 08, 2000.

Thanks for all your response so far. There is no "right" answer-and I am enjoying your interpretations. I will post mine at around 5:30 EST.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), September 08, 2000.

My take on it;

Some guys are out in the desert, mebbe Monument Valley, and they are sticking lizards with a sword or something. One of the guys falls down and his eyes pop out. Then they get thirsty.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 08, 2000.


You're messing me up here...LMAO!!!!

-- Peg (too@much.spam), September 08, 2000.

I have been thinking about doing this since Lars posted the Red Wheelbarrow, on which I commented about my views on the importance or lack of importance of the author's intentions. To repeat, it is my believe that the experience of the work of art by the viewer is what is important-not what the author intended. Knowing the author's intent is also part of the appreciation of a work of art-knowing it, we can see how cleverly metaphors, allegories, etc are etched. That being said, I think you all had a piece of the puzzle, though By Grace probably comes the closest.

I wrote this poem after visiting Arches National Park in Southeastern Utah. When I first wrote it I thought I was just going for a visceral description of the place. I wanted to use extreme language and carry out an extreme metaphor to describe the place.

What I realized years later, after reviewing my state of being at the time, is that my soul was anticipating a soon to come "desert" experience within myself. Many Christian mystics speak of times in their spiritual quest when all seems hopeless, when everything they do leads nowhere to a communication with God. St. John of the Cross coined the common term "Dark Night of the Soul", a book bearing this name, and this is analgous to the desert experience. Very intense reading.

Of course, the Bible tells us about Jesus spending 40(?) days in the desert, and the temptations he had to overcome. I do not know about temptations, but I have certainly had desert experiences, days on end where my insides were screaming for a connection and it was not to be found. Shortly after my trip to Utah/Colorado, I broke up with the woman who I had been with for ten years, and that combined with some professional setbacks, forcefully put my in the "desert". I had been sober at the time, but this desert experience was unlike others I had previuosly had; I did not get better-I got worse and relapsed back into addiction.

I can thankfully say today that I still have these experiences from time to time, but they always increase my faith. The real deal is to keep on keeping on during these experiences where it feels like any semblance of God has gone permanently on vacation-keep praying, keep meditating, keep reading, etc..

I have grown much wiser from these desert experiences. And I thank God to receive such graces.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), September 08, 2000.

The best book written, ever, about Arches National Park and the desert in general is by Edward Abbey, now deceased. Desert Solitaire: A Season In the Wilderness, has been in print for over 30 years, which is somewhat of a legend in the publishing industry, especially as the New York literati dismissed him as a crank.

It speaks to me more than any other book I've ever read, and that includes much of the great literature of the world. This was a man who knew and loved the desert, but saw it with eyes not blinded with sentimentality, nor as a place to overcome temptations--how Abbey would have howled at that. All I can say, is that you haven't read Desert Solitaire, then you've missed the best book of this century IMHO, and a lot of other people feel the same way. I wish I lived in AZ so I could take the courses taught there about his books, life and writing.

Of course, some will find it a little too steeped in the real world, such as when he says in the preface, "I can only reply that I am content with surfaces, with appearances. I know nothing about underlying reality, having never encountered any. I've looked and I've looked, tried fasting , drugs, meditataion, religious experience, even self-mortification, but never seem to get any closer to basic reality than the lizard on a rock. a hawk in the sky, a dead pig in the sunshine. Appearance is reality, I say, and more than most of us deserve. You whine and whimper after immortality beyond space-time? Come home for God's sake, and enjoy this gracious earth of ours while you can."

It's the only book I've ever read that made me feel that being a realist wasn't a dirty word. It didn't make me feel that I less than human because I wasn't concerned about any life, but this life.

Larry McMurtry called Abbey "...the Thoreau of the American West," but he is so much more than that.

-- gilda (, September 08, 2000.


My impression was that this is a description of one of the areas in southern Utah. They are impressive.

I have grown much wiser from these desert experiences.

They have always left me cold [unintentional pun]. It must be a difference in background or conditioning. For me, it is sitting at the top of a glacier. Even better if it is snowing. I get nothing from the desert. If I had written the NT, Christ would have wondered around Mt. Baker for that time. Probably during the early fall storms. For me, the desert gives little, the mountains give more.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, September 08, 2000.

So whattsa' "large pompous bird" anyway?

-- Luna (, September 08, 2000.

Z1X, I agree that the desert isn't for me either. I hate heat--love cold. We used to have a condo on the beach in Fort Meyers that we visited two weeks each winter. We had a nice time and decided to take it for a month.

Gawwd it was awful--just sunshine--unremitting, continual, blasted sunshine! Gawwwd it got so borring! Into the third week, we called my kid and his girlfriend to come finish out the lease. They had a ball and, we went home to leaden skies and snow drifts two feet high. It was heaven.

Frankly, I'd love to live in that part of Oregon where rain is always expected. Heat depresses me horribly. Now that our grass has turned to dead straw, and it never rains, I've begun to hate this place. I love cool, overcast, gray days, which we once had here. They invite reflection and contemplation, aided by cups of hot tea or coffee in front of a small fire and the music of Herbie Mann or Dave Brubeck, or long walks in the woods, without the bother of mosquitoes, ticks and sweat running down your back. I love the roll of thunder and crack of lightning and the smell it creates.

But my love for hills, mountains, rain and millions of trees, and lots of green, is to me, what the desert was to Abbey, or to others who find sun filled beaches their bliss. Viva la difference!

But, his book is a metaphor for life, for seeing the best and the worst of it and accepting all of it, good and bad. And I have lived it, suffered in it, bawled and wallowed in it, slung snot, cursed and raged, but I did not long for any world but this one. I've read, listened to music, cleaned house like a fanatic, jogged like a maniac, wrote and read poetry, and reread all the stoics, but I've refused medication or wacky weed, although I did spend a little time with vino and Baskin Robbins.

I asked no god to help me, for unless he/she/it could be there, in person, then it would not help me. I cannot talk to thin air and call it god. Ohh, how much easier if I could still believe in fairy tales and ancient scrolls and spells and magic lamps and little people and gods and angels and fairy godmothers and friendly spirits. If they would only make house calls, or just open an office. How lucky are those that can believe in the unknown and unknowable.

No I don't need a sermon now, for I've heard it all before, tried with all my might before, let it flow and it didn't, for my mind is stubborn and hateful and refuses to cooperate in my longing for a spirit to take care of me. This stubborn mind of mine says, "There may or may not be a god, but you have a brain, you have feelings, you will persevere, or simply fall into a heap of malfunctioning rubble. What the hell do you want, just good times, and fun and games, and to never shed a tear except in laughter. NO way! Do you want to live life or just be entertained, you silly, sniveling old girl. Do you only want bridge parties and butterflies and ice cream and warm fires? What a fine, big, red-nosed baby you are. Go with it. Remember it, Live it, so that the good times will not be taken for granted." And so I do--and oh how rich and wonderful are the good times.

Sorry for carrying on like a tomcat under a shit house. It's just that Abbey has this effect on me, and I go with it to the hilt.

Life is good, life is fun, who cares what happens, when life is done.

Disclaimer: This in no way is meant as a reflection on those who keep the faith in their particular god, or gods. Do whatever it takes--just don't give up.

-- gilda (, September 09, 2000.


Very eloquent but you could have left out the insults ("fairy tales", etc).

For me, faith came late in life and is far from being a done-deal. But it was fairly easy to get this far. I just willed it. I wanted it.

Do you like Gerry Mulligan? I do.

Luna C--

There is a large flightless bird in SA similiar to the ostrich and emu. I can't remember its name. They are often pompous when they live in the pampas.


I liked the poem alot and hope to comment more later. Thanks for the exegesis.


You could make a silk Christian from a sow's ear. Thanks for the exeJESUS.

Deserts exist everywhere------


Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast

In a field I looked into going past,

And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,

But a few weeds and stubble showing last.


The woods around it have it--it is theirs.

All animals are smothered in their lairs.

I am too absent-spirited to count;

The loneliness includes me unawares.


And lonely as it is that loneliness

Will be more lonely ere it be less--

A blanker whiteness of benighted snow

With no expression, nothing to express.


They cannot scare me with their empty spaces

Between stars--on stars where no human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.

-- Lars (l;, September 09, 2000.


Glaciers are life

Deserts are death

Youth loves glaciers

Age loves deserts


Copied from a rock face somewhere in the rockies.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, September 09, 2000.


Ft Myers is the hot spot of Florida, always a few degrees above everyone else for whatever reason.

Me, I like good old boring sunshine. It's the grey rainy days that make me want to slash my wrists. To be fair though, cold winter days are the best for snuggling with your love, safe in your cocoon. Lazy Sunday snowy mornings in bed with a book and coffee, frosted panes revealing little but shades of white and grey. Yes, that is good stuff, I can take about two weeks of it before severe depression hits. Besides, after a few years in Florida 55 degrees feels just close enough to winter to have lazy snuggle fests.

Sunny days...sweat rolling down your face before a quick dip in the sea. Blue skys with white puffy clouds, feet dipping in as the sun rises and the heat begins to build. Out on the water, outboard purring away on a slow ride to nowhere, BloodyMary morning, the gulls and pelicans dipping here and there....salt air in your nose, Marley singing low in the is good then, very good.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 09, 2000.

Lars, what's insulting about fairy tales. I loved fairy tales when I was a kid--had every fairy tale book available. They were, and are simply wonderful, but you can't believe in them no matter how much you want to. That's how I feel about the Bible--interesting stories--but I'm not about to believe them literally. That's not insulting, that's just a different point of view, based on logic, rather than emotionalism.

Lars, I could will anything I wanted to, but that doesn't mean it would be real. It would just be a wanna' be--a fake, and I could probably even fool myself for awhile. As they say about love, you may not be in love, but if you think you are, it's just as real as being there.. Sometimes something comes along to make you see the light, and later you look back in amazement. I watched a show about cults the other evening, and after these people were through with their cult, they couldn't believe they had been sucked in that way. As one man said, "I would have sworn I could never be caught up in something like that."

Uncle, you've told me all the best parts about being in Florida. Especially the Bloody Mary's. We loved sitting on the deck, or in a boat, drinking Mary's and watching the sunset. I loved feeding the gulls and didn't consider them pests, as many people did.

But you're right--you can't beat winter for snuggling. Get your cold feet off of me!!! :)

-- gilda (, September 09, 2000.

So glad I have internet access back. Computer was down at home over 48 hours.

Just to set the record straight, I used the bible reference simply because it was the closest in my mind. I am sure there are other traditions that have other words for "desert" experiences.

Gilda-are you a bitter old women? LOL LOL (just kiding you know)

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), September 10, 2000.

Gosh, FS, I though you'd never ask. No, I'm not a bitter old woman, but I'm workin' on it--this sort of project takes time.

-- gilda (, September 10, 2000.

"...And I thank God to recieve such graces." Amen! (in other words - I believe it, or this is my prayer)

-- (, September 10, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ