Issue 6: Jon Thompson

[Nothing we love     is what we love—]

(The Searchers)

Nothing we love     is what we love—

not strange then that this land could be

so loved.     Inside a darkened theater                 vintage VistaVision clouds

pile up against a VistaVision sky.    

The ochre-red desert shades into distances purply- blue.

What is this world but a world of left-overs,

the desert the mesas the high self-regarding buttes                 the wildflower & sagebrush

testaments to worlds gone by—

                                                            rock-time ledgered in the rock-face.

The searchers ride past it     furious for what isn’t there.

Men in war paint know this & must die.

Do bleed sweetly onto the desert floor.

Do savagely demise.

With all the strong, short-timers thundering by.

Jon Thompson teaches at North Carolina State University where he edits the international, online journal, Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry & Poetics and the single-author poetry series, Free Verse Editions. His first collection was The Book of the Floating World (2007); his most recent book is a collection of lyrical essays, After Paradise: Essays on the Fate of American Writing. More information can be had at