Even the Sotol Believes


Even the Sotol Believes

If we must discuss logographic systems, let us begin with fish.
And how might one mistake an entrance for a perch?

A movable rod for a desert spoon?

Today’s lesson excludes a poorly rendered door.

Hinges are merely mechanical joints, the origin of which means to hang. Concentrate there.

D is the tenth most frequently used letter in English.

Depicted on rock wall paintings, the sotol has provided food, sandals,

blankets, ropes, tools and spirits for millennia.
Slow cook the roots for three nights, crush, then ferment for seventy-two hours in

champagne yeast. Distill, then age in French oak.

We shall neither open nor close, nor mention those things that do.

Like bivalves. Bottles. Eyes. Shops. Caskets. Books. Mouths. Circuits.
Its flower stalk rises up to fifteen feet. Its leaves are long, thin and barbed.

Surrounded by orange ochre flames and black smoke, the sotol spirit appears.

Daletย will not enter our vocabulary today.

Originally published in Otoliths 41 (October 2013).


15 thoughts on “Even the Sotol Believes

  1. You combined gorgeous imagery with a (Sotol-inspired?) philosophy of human ingenuity — our tools of passageways to the inscrutable places where God dwells (where we may not defy the Deity!); and our invention of language, its words comprised of letters that may or may not be God-given (for we would need to be much more ingenious than we are to “divine” their true origins) — to express how we douse our existential agony in man-made desert fire, and thereby endure another day.

    This is beautiful and fabulous, and I appreciate that it comes from depths I cannot fathom — I write from my own, similar depths, release my words through (cyber)passageways, and then have nothing more to do but wonder if someone, anyone, might care to engage them even the slightest bit, or would even know how?
    I would guess you composed “Sotol Spirit” knowing that most would never understand (which is likely the only thing about this piece that I truly do grasp here…), but I wonder, how do you deal with the lack of dialogue that I am presuming ensues? Or, if I am completely wrong about the silence, please tell me where to find those who can and want to answer?

    In any case, I just wanted you to know that I thought this was wonderful, and why.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your generous comments. When I write a piece like this I expect neither dialogue nor understanding, but appreciate them when they occur. I work through these as a means of exploring/learning/interpreting my world. In this particular poem, the sotol plant and the letter “D” stand at the forefront, I suppose, but are still merely pieces of a larger, fragmented but connected whole (at least to my way of thinking). Some of these poems generate discussion, others don’t, but I’ve been fortunate to find through this blog a community of readers/writers who enjoy my odd sensibilities, and who often offer remarks, questions, advice and support.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh poor Robert, wasting your time on us Dummies. I must admit your scholarship and superior intellect flies right over my head at times, but I am willing to learn ๐Ÿ™‚ Some of your poems are demanding and challenging but if I had to read it five times, google a word here or there and let it sit in my head for a while, it was worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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