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Fire in the desert from poet Matt Layne, read aloud to music by Ned Mudd
Tell me your story, and I will tell you mine. A rag of colts splinter across the Arizona desert, white dust rises behind them like smoke, like dreams half-remembered, like a living prayer. The gray tortoise watches from beside the black road. Her back is the weight of the world. There is no chance of rain. You have heard that horse hooves sound like thunder; this is not true. They are the sound of goodbye. They are the sound of a station wagon door shutting and shutting again. They are the sound of our father’s voice calling out that last list of things for us to forget. Then there is no voice, no hooves, no rooms, only the vast open plain of your heart beneath this purpling bruise of sky. Look, there are the galaxies that were wrought the moment you opened your eyes and reached for them, and here you are: infinitesimal. Come sit by the fire, and I will tell you how wild horses spirited our father away as he lay dreaming of a tortoise and her clutch. In the morning, we can share all he remembered to leave behind.
Matt Layne writes…
After the death of my father, he began to frequently haunt the realm of my dreams. Usually, my dad would be in a room just out of reach or pulling out of the driveway in his red pickup truck. Sometimes, I would wake right as I began to ask him a burning question. There is always that shutting and shutting again of goodbye. I love how Ned Mudd's Taos blended so beautifully with the desert feel of this poem. It was the first piece I recorded, and it felt like everything was right in the world.
Tell me your story ...
“Kindling” appears in Miracle Strip, released August 31, 2022. The music is “Taos” from the album Buffalo T-Bone by Ned Mudd.
Miracle Strip, a poetry collection by Matt Layne, is a unique hybrid of the written and spoken word. Each piece of the collection has an end-stop embellishment QR code which, when scanned, transforms the reader into a listener. Layne has recorded each poem, often with the accompaniment of musician and poet, Ned Mudd. The first line of the book invites the reader to “tell me your story, and I will tell you mine,” in the campfire tradition. In Miracle Strip, the reader and poet embark on an experiential journey of memories and the ghosts who haunt us.
Poet, librarian, raconteur; Matt Layne has been poking hornet's nests and looking under rocks for lizards and snakes since he was knee-high to a peanut peg. A founding member of the 1990s improvisational poetry collective, The Kevorkian Skull poets, Layne believes in the radical transformative power found in the intersection of poetry and art, and he wants you to write your truth and share it out loud. A multiple Hackney Award winning writer, he has also been recognized by the National Society of Arts and Letters and been featured in Peek Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Steel Toe Review, B-Metro, and elsewhere. Look for him at your local library.
Ned Mudd resides in Alabama where he engages in interspecies communication, rock collecting, and frequent cloud watching. He is the author of The Adventures of Dink and DVD (a space age comedy). Some of Ned’s best friends are raccoons.
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