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january in the california desert

we have to bank the snowmelt from the sierra nevadas to live here in the summer, when all that was green turns brown and dies baking under endless blue so that on a day like today, when people in minneapolis are deciding how many layers are needed to avoid frostbite we sit at an outside table, under an umbrella trying not to get too much sun i grew up in a small town near here where you either raised cattle or designed nuclear weapons there was only one african american in my school and we thought we were living in doctor king's dream because we didn't treat him any differently except when i came back after my first year at college he was bagging groceries and i was designing computer software which seemed abstractly mysterious at the time we speak of sustainability and social responsibility over a latte which is ok because the cup is recycled and the coffee grower is slightly less exploited than he was 10 years ago but still required to grow our coffee not welcome to sit and sip with us as we dispense our generous consumption our lives washed and awash in indulgences offered to well meaning middlemen who tell us our carbon sins and chocolate transgressions are forgiven so thoughtful and creative on this silky smooth tablet computer made in china where they are so eager and obliging to grind their children into glass which covers the lcd display slide the simulated latch left all the power now at our fingertips yeah baby, we are the dreamers fingers unstained by the chemicals needed to make our dreams come true that is how we roll bouncing our heads with the stereo earbuds blocking out all distractions while we unwrap our turkey sandwich at this point in the poem you are wondering whether this is the unexpected turn— the warm sun of winter and the occasional gentle rain coaxing carpet verdant from brown possibility? so am i my friend so am i it is january in the california desert where the first people to find this place who knew how to find happiness without a vast system of aqueducts and reservoirs abstractly and mysteriously vanished to make room for us to complain about the illegal latino trying to steal jobs that are rightfully ours which is outrageous because our empire beat theirs in a fair fight i say all of this not to earn your admiration or to atone for the swath of injustice that leads like a trail of bloody breadcrumbs to this place i say it because it is and what ever comes next the something better which we all want has to start here