Crossroads: Texas part 2

Squatting in the Austin afternoon, poised between cactus and wildflower. Scrub oak and cedar, unconcerned with the grandeur of eastern foliage, find their majesty in horizontal extensions rather than icarian yearnings. Their burning star lays all around; it shimmers off the sandy washouts, bathes every upturned leaf in its intolerable gaze before falling once again dull and gleaming into western cradles.

Austin, you carrock of elysian fields, catching all manner of people and plant on your limestone cliffs — disjointed and ill-planned, stacked together on jigs and shims, enveloping all gaits beneath the heat-waved pride of your bald capitol.

Photo by J. Max Hunt

Sprawling prayer to technological futures, building on the backs of rough hands and gig-economy eyes. Lives stewing together in the midday heat, raucous as a drunk UT undergrad, contemplative as Comanche wrinkles around the eyes.

Americana dreams, vaudeville stylings — your streams calm and your streets terrify. The passage of human ebbs and flows, new buildings and frontier avenues.

Lying beneath an oak tree sprung from Van Gogh’s wet dreams, watching collegiate boots hurry from class to class, nervous with the proposition of challenging futures.

The copper-colored Sheba queen billows by us, all blue-wing ruffles and strut. Hair floats half a ruby over her delicate but square shoulders; her hips swivel in time with some inner gravity driving heat and dust, taming grackle cacophonies into sweet choir birds.

Charise says she must be a grad student — her gait unhampered by youth’s self-consciousness; too gaudy for professorial robes. But I think now she must have been some cottonmouth apparition, cactus budding to herald the coming burn.

Surely, she is the progeny of great mestizo princes and old mission aristocracies — the queen of Austin come to gather her wayward children in death-beads dangling down the teeth, and carry them to sleep it off somewhere in the shade of her belly.

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