At the Wildcat Cafe the waitresses, oil rig roughnecks, ranchers and their wives,
all say the scrub brush mystic is a bad cowboy,
because he eats eggs, bacon and biscuits with a fork and a knife. But they know
he conducts the bugs that sing the trees though are never seen,
know he flies the egrets and the scissor-tails in kite lines across the forever and ever sky.
Inside, some days, at the Wildcat Cafe
a roughneck will grab the waitresses’ ass, tell her
Have a good day,
and she’ll say in chagrin, I’ll sure try,
because she hasn’t learned she can slap him across the face,
clatter that oil rig helmet to the linoleum, or rocket it up
through the drop-ceiling all the way to god
in a penance for the intravenous job the roughnecks have pulled on this planet.
Those days the mystic gets up, throws his eggs to the floor,
scatters the shattered plate like gypsy bones in a prophetic archeology,
and runs through town screaming,
There is no try!
even if he’s not sure anyone will get it.
Most days he just reads their fortunes
written in the patterns of coffee and cream,
offers one-sided mystical conversation on mystical subjects.
He knows they never mind the flies, only brush off their luck.
At the Wildcat Cafe they say he’s a bad cowboy,
but know he can sing the yucca into giving up their secrets of water and how to get it.
They feel the breeze he builds as he moves through
and past the shadow of pick-up trucks to the prairie,
past the barbed wire that never quite imposes ownership,
and across the mesquite trees that really rule this place.
When you see the old stains left by dried up rivers,
remember that was him,
stealing the thundering creeks and scattering them like seeds.
This is why the desert is dry.
He didn’t bring you fictions, only sand.
And once you’ve learned the grains, heard them speaking
the language of the dust in broken collisions,
well, then maybe he can finally float our oceans and begin the great game of naming all
About Robert: Robert Balun has done his best to travel and become a well-rounded person. He writes with the perspective of the student-loan
generation, and tries to do as much as possible. His writing has
appeared (or is forthcoming) in Promethean, Big City Lit, the zine Sleeping in a Torn Quilt / Dreaming of Gold, and the Latitude on 2nd 2012 Poetry Anthology. Recently, he was selected as the winner of Empirical Magazine’s 2012 Poetry Contest. He is also a curator for the City College MFA Reading Series. Robert lives in Brooklyn while he pursues his MFA at City College.