The day the desert was destroyed, water
sucked from distant rivers sprayed through the sky,
and cars bore pilgrims, dreamers to Mecca,
sedated by slot-machine lullabies.
The stars all tumbled to earth, outshone by
neon casinos and fountains of light
while roulette chances to change everything
spun against the darkest of desert nights.
Now, unheeded prayers to dollars drift down
from the mouths of those ghostlike survivors,
mumbling dreams into urns full of quarters
as taillights depart in night’s brightest hours.
Boys with flyers for prostitutes jostle
the stars, shouted down from celestial heights.
Barely burning, they stagger slow down the Strip
cursing this blaze, this apocalypse of light.
I tried to come up with something for Read Write Poem’s latest image prompt (#98) which involved writing a poem based on an image of swirling lights at a fair. I fixated on the lights and kept thinking about this poem I wrote back in April (I think). So this one is sort-of off prompt, but I offer it anyway.
Some of the lines are lifted from the manuscript of my novel A Short Time to Be There. In the novel, the characters are driving into Las Vegas after a week on the road and find themselves alternately overwhelmed, excited and disgusted by the city.
Read what others did with the prompt at this week’s Get Your Poem On at Read Write Poem.