Well, living in this place has always been a gamble. It's bound to burn down eventually, but I must say it will be damned inconvenient for me if hot embers start raining down this week. I still haven't gotten those leaves cleaned up, for one thing. It's just been too hot for raking. The rain gutters need cleaned out, too. They are a considerable fire hazard when they are full of dry leaves. I suppose I'll have to try to get the gutters cleaned out tomorrow morning. It's too late to do it tonight, even with a half moon shining.
Aside from the impending potential disaster, the clouds are going to moderate the temperature a little bit. The high might be a mere 82 degrees on Tuesday. Of course it could be a rainy 82 degrees, and that means there could be steam rising from the rooftops. How will I tell the steam from smoke?
Just when I thought this summer couldn't get any worse. Crap.
by Jeffrey McDaniel
You are the quirky little sister of Las Vegas
that never finished high school, with your Kurt
Cobain slot machine, where instead of apples
and oranges, different brands of pharmaceuticals
revolve in Kurt's head. A pair of valiums
doubles your bet, but three shotgun shells
is the big pay-off. Reno, your pawn shops
are loaded with prosthetic limbs and wedding rings.
One night a lucky bastard cackled down your strip,
chucking twenty-five dollar chips over his collar,
then dumped the whole six thousand in the river
just to watch the panhandlers plunge.
When the moon's right, their femurs still glitter
like rods of gold. I could stay here forever,
whispering the details of the life I left behind
to the blackjack dealer who flicks me my future
one card at a time. The Jack & Gingers stack up
like a glass chimney, as the losers are hauled out
on gurneys, howling for one last chance. Lady
Luck whips out a hag wrench, prying my smile off
one nerve ending at a time, and I wander
the desert at dawn, like a general returning
to his senses after bombing his own people,
muttering My God, what have I done?