The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Nano Taggart

Mojave, Dirge

a companion to Andrew Marvick/John Foxx


I learned impermanence from
large signs floating down the

Vegas strip with palm tree fronds
and litter:
The Topless Girls of

Glitter Gulch
/ $1 draft beer /
prime rib breakfast buffet $3.99.

Yucca Mountain almost shaded
a next world’s leaking catastrophe.

Inert neon livens an archive that
charges admission:
Take a guided

tour of the neon boneyard

I found an archive in my mother’s
cedar chest, a photo of my whole,

new self in my father's right hand.

Shadows of coming pasts foretell
an empty oasis belonging to no one.

I drank to excess under neon flamingos
buried at the altar of false place—

false Paris, fake Italy, a stucco castle
pull away the night2, shield tourists from

Mt. Charleston and the Great Basin's divide.

Now my archive’s inheritor, absolution
turns toward listening and the world’s

dark centers are stumbled upon. Knowing
is a map to the blood engine, a map to the

sacred start.

Lake Mead’s bathtub rings foreshadow
pleas to pipe Lake Superior for 1,700

miles to the American Southwest.

I'm drinking to my story and the
feigned wonderland that
can’t stay

3. Straight lines escape me.
Calling this
emptiness, too loaded;

calling it
home, a lie.

This will be the greatest ghost
town the world has ever seen.




1 “Take a guided tour of the neon boneyard.” The Neon Museum (website header).
                       Accessed 4/8/17.
2 Foxx, John (Ultravox).
Systems of Romance. “I Can’t Stay Long.” Universal Music.
                       Accessed 4/8/17.
3 Ibid




NANO TAGGART co-founded Sugar House Review, works for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and is a co-recipient of a Utah Division of Arts and Museums grant. Some of his other stuff appears in Weber—The Contemporary West, Specs, and Diagram. “Mojave, Dirge” is from a collaboration with painter Andrew Marvick and a companion to Marvick’s I Can’t Stay Long series. The collaboration will be shown at Art Works Gallery in Cedar City, UT in late 2017.



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