(November 3, 2014)
Somewhere in the desert between Riyadh and Kuwait City
I saw 40 sunken pyramids in several rows,
"the lone and level sands stretch far away";
none of the roads approach them.
An ancient citadel, frontier, university, landing strip, or something,
lost forever except to curious airline passengers
whose precarious pretensions to history may last
as long as these sunken pyramids, with luck.
Millions of years since water was flowing here,
Still it shines its patterns to the dry skies.
And over the water of the Gulf:
Oil rigs on fire, impossible to tell if
by accident or design, but to see flames from this height,
and to wonder what and who and how it must be like down there,
preparing the next waves of desert to sink our pyramids...
To fly like this wondering, how much further, how much higher?
Will we leave sunken pyramids and burn oil rigs on other planets?
From such great heights and speeds, these questions seem most urgent.
In the heat and noise of landing they will be lost,
or sublimated in the struggles to come,
for or against the water,
whose patterns the future will ponder.
As I write, insane, artificial, turquoise, speedboat Abu-Dhabi comes into view.
Perspective narrows, modernity deploys like landing gear.
Trees grow bright green in desert sand,
people are everywhere, pitilessly transforming everything,
and a baby screams, cosmically attuned;
contents may have shifted during flight.