Southwestern Disunited States of Memory
Piñon smoke and sagebrush, voice of New Mexico night driving into an Arizona dawn rising over dreaming pueblos, low-ridden plazas, kivas and ruined cities’ rubble traced and highlighted by sunlight, Anglo angling into Aztec toward Zuni over arid zones… A to Z to El Dorado; a voice covers the high hills with a dusting of snow – every word hangs in the notes of the song: music to fall apart to, breakdown to, hurling the soul into the bottomless well of psychotic nostalgia: música de cavanga, falling into the depths. Melody pushing to the threshold of a bar and leaving you there with cash in your pocket and no ride home. The warmth inside beckons—you step across as the song fills, swells, intoxicates, then excavates the wall of the dam until it collapses. The fatal mistake: you read too much into the lyrics of shallow love songs. The deathwish beast of despair arises, the flooded plains dazzle your eyes, the Indian girl smiles on the rim of the Grand Canyon, the tattooed cholo pulls a knife in the trailer park, the dark waters under the bridge murmur and surge with regret; el río de Las Animas, Durango CO, Aztec calligraphy on the wall: Las Cruces, NM; Clifton, Morenci, Globe, AZ: stepped pyramids of copper tailings, gang-warred walls in fallen barrios covered in Chicano hieroglyphics, the ruined huts of shepherds and cowboys, pit-house dwellings’ flaked arrowheads and pottery fragments scattered forever in the coyote laugh of desert dusk. Crepuscular colors on the names of mountain ranges: Santa Catalina, Sangre de Cristo, Sandia, each one a separate sunset delirium – then you ride through the night to the city of palm trees and the orange-lined boulevards of Heaven. The singer herself grew old but her YouTubes live forever.