Archives for posts with tag: Nevada

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Valley of Fire
     after Ada Limón
by Gisella Faggi

I’m envious of how and what this land has survived,
               more than 150 million
years of faulting, shifting, and scarring.

Is it resilience alone? Because, when I look out
across this barren, inhospitable land, it seems like
more than that, like pure spite, the earth contemptuous
as it pushes every living thing from it like a poison.

There are days when surviving seems an impossible thing.

Orange veins throb against marbled rock. The sun beats
against soft sand, stone iron-hot to the touch.
The red of the desert mirrors the red of rage,
the red of a heart.

Is this what it feels like to always be burning?

Still, the spiraling sandstone rises in a disorderly
riot like a giant “fuck you” to the earth
below, the sun above, mocking them both,
a provocation.

How I want nothing more than to stand tall as these red rocks
               and, like them,
laugh in the face of the thing trying to kill me.

PHOTO: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, by Esudroff, used by permission. NOTE: Valley of Fire State Park, located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, covers nearly 46,000 acres. The park  derives its name from red sandstone formations, the Aztec Sandstone, that formed from shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago. (Source: Wikipedia)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gisella Faggi’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in So to Speak, About Place Journal, and War, Literature & the Arts, among others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has received awards and fellowships from 33 Officina Creativa, Columbia College Chicago, and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Find her online at



Poem by Gawaine Caldwater Ross 

The Burning Man was eighty feet high
Atop a temple of Moorish lace
Confections of stars and midnight suns
All on a lake bed flat and sere, already
Old when primates first appeared.
Fire dancers whirled as the stars chirped
Hosannas to the primal rite.
Nothing is lost, but all is gained,
Extravagance is the law of the land.
Open now, as the clouds pass by,
Fire is water, and water itself
Soars into the stratosphere.
High art falls into the dust,
No one complains, and all rejoice.
Surreal it is, and yet romantic,
Bacchus himself rides on the wind,
And here it is that once a year
Artists bring about the birth
Of Shiva’s endless pillar of fire.


It’s that time of year again — BURNING MAN time. This annual event, which attracts nearly 50,000 free spirits, will take place in the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada from Monday, August 27th, through Monday, September 3rd. The 2012 theme is FERTILITY.

With mind-bending art installations, radical music, interactive experiences (interpret that how you will), and performances of all varieties (interpret that how you will), Burning Man is an annual bacchanal that people say frees the spirit, elevates the soul, and makes you feel good to be alive. I’ve always wanted to attend — for the artwork alone (I’m serious!) — but the roughing it aspect, I’ll admit, is beyond me. But best wishes to all who attend — hope you have fun. I will be with you in spirit and watch the live feed via the Internet.

Shout out to my pal Reverend Billy, who’s been a Burning Man must-see for years.

Photo: 2012 Burning Man pavilion design by Rod Garrett and Andrew Johnstone