[Phoenix, August 2001]
A.D. wrapped in red streamers. Back from the grocery store, bucket load of beer and chips, setting up for the party.
I found him near the bougainvilleas, confiding to mauve desert hearty blooms—putting his hot acid breath into that brick-oven, stone-born, night-sweat air that kept down the ashen dust storm of all those early days. He was somewhere in Somalia, at the doorstep of that rundown studio where I set my couch afire with a cigarette butt. When I smoked. When we talked. When all of us were somehow there, even when he could only be in Africa. Counting bodies live and living. Leaving. In the darkest nights. The hottest nights. I could hear the helicopters in his head. Smell the confusion, the shame that dripped from his charcoal still-crew-cut-hair. I put him in my car where only I and “He” —if there ever was a “He” for A.D.— could see him curled up against the window. One trigger arm on the seat belt, eyes up and down and up down back again, looking for survivors or solace or maybe just morning across the empty avenue.