the salton sea

in this prison of a past paradise, the people and the sea
each waiting to evaporate in their own time. 
all of their names and reputations trapped in the valley;
when the tourists were sentenced to leave for their crimes.

those left have traced back their luck and looked for hope,
along the shore and the fault lines,
they've lost themselves in the drugs and days,
the eroded furniture, faded signs and salt mines.

remembering the exuberant crowds and expensive boats,
escaping from the endless desert into the endless sea,
a grain of sand for a grain of salt,
mountains built on old times and memories.

the sea and people puking up dead fish,
disease and dying dreams,
flooded and dried to the bone,
a lost city of old regimes.

business men and investors found in debt
now drifters looking for a place to get lost,
gamblers who lost all of their bets
stayed too long and paid the cost.

motel vacancies and cancelled plans,
evaporated vacations and tourist traps,
rusted cars and cola cans,
Scratched from stories and marked off maps.

homes, like castles made of sand
waiting for tiny waves to say their goodbyes.
alcoholics drowning in the days,
keep losing it all no matter how hard they try.

the fault line, drawing its boundaries,
between those who stayed and those who left
those who took their memories with them
and those who stayed home, victims of theft.

birds migrate to a place to die,
where it's quiet and buried and gone
a place where the past still lives
and hope finds it's peak in the early dawn.

but when all of the birds and tourists have migrated from it,
the sea will be left without its charm.
a mirage out in the desert for the duration
an old, corroded clock without its arms.

the sun sucking the life from the place,
a distant sign of distant days,
now just a black hole puking light from it,
a ghost given and set ablaze.

shadows shifting through the stench,
as saline dreams turns to rust,
rotting fish, a thirst to quench.
The desert's stomach turns dust.