Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Training in Phoenix Sucks

 Sometimes even Saguaros die
Long course summer training in a desert sucks. The heat is unbearable by ten a.m. on good days; by dawn on bad days. A five to six hour bike ride is a testament to fortitude even if I start in the dark. I start to flirt with heat exhaustion after four hours. In honor of this misery, I have written a poem:

I emerge reluctantly from my cool, dark lair.

Eye-searing white light.
Mountains shrouded in gray sludge haze.
Plants sadly droop in the weight of living
in the sodden air, evil sun screaming air
that wants to bury me alive.

I groan and reel from the physical assault.
Mouth dry, dripping sweat, I ride my bike; eddies of
heat scraping my skin.

I wish not to exist in the hell of such a place
where tall sentinel Saguaro witness the dust of earth bones
blowing in empty space.
Puffs of fat gray clouds overhead promise
a cool breath of rain
that never comes.

My head spins. I ride on.

Doves stand dazed in the street.
Lizards scurry for shade.
A panting coyote hangs his head.
Green skeleton trees claw the air.
Menace rises from the pavement.

Vultures circle overhead.
Do they wait for me?
Or that snake smashed in the road?

My legs ache, my feet hurt. I ride on.

Baked, black asphalt; a rolling ribbon. A conga line of
bobbing quail family cross; little legs rapidly run to avoid motorized death.

I climb an endless hill. Heat presses harder. No mercy. Salt crusts my face.

Downhill again, into false cool breeze I grimly ride on until
finally done; dash into air-conditioned bliss.