I was so proud and arrogant,

         I would never ask for direction.

         So I lead an errant

life and lost my connection.

         Then I lost my way

         in this desert though I had no intention

other than a day

         hike, something

         led me astray.

I could no longer find anything

         that would bring me back to civilization.


out here  but  rocks and barbed vegetation

         that cuts my skin.

         What a terrible situation

I found myself in.

         I can’t say anymore

         what I thought would happen


         I wandered out here.

         I think I longed for

a chance to clear

         my mind

         in this desert I held so dear.

I never thought I would wind

         up lost and alone

         unable to find

any signal for my cell phone.

         The vultures circle above me

         waiting to pick my bone.

I know they can see

         that I am beginning to tire.

         Even a coyote

is watching me perspire

         waiting for a chance

         to feast on me when I expire.

So I struggle to advance

         across the vast

         barren expanse.

Knowing that my water won’t last

         much longer and

         I’m well             past

the point of no return. I had not planned

         on camping overnight

         but. across the land,

the light

         is beginning to fade.

         So I fight

my way up a steep grade

         hoping I can get a view

         of something manmade,

but I can see nothing new

         from up high

         so I take off a shoe

and shake out the rocks and dust. Finally, I

         climb inside an wind cave.

         Then I lie

down knowing that no one is coming to save

         me tonight.

         I pray this desert doesn’t become my grave.
























A fitful sleep took

         me on the rocks.

         I woke and I shook

the dust from my socks.

         I wondered if I would ever find my way out

         or if this wind cave would become my pine box.

I wandered about

         aimlessly in this barren frontier.

         I gave a shout

loud and clear

         but my own echo

         was all I would hear.

I did not know

         which direction

         to go.

How did I get myself into this position?

         I couldn’t believe what I had done?

         I should’ve stayed back in the air condition.

I should’ve never left Tuscon.

         I was losing my mind

         from being in the city so long.

I came out here to find

         my sanity

         only to wind

up desperate to get back to the city.

         I kept searching for a

         way out of this cruelty.

I walked mile after mile through the wilderness of Cabeza Prieta,

         but I found

         nothing to point me the way out of dilemma.

Then I head a strange sound

         of something being crushed in my stead.

         I looked to the ground

and found a stone that read,

         “Edward Paul Abbey – 1927-1989 - No Comment”

         Then a voice boomed out and said,

“I don’t know who sent

         you this far out into nowhere.

         My loved ones spent

some effort to care


         what’s left of me down there.

I suggest you leave before

         you provoke

         me anymore

You already woke

         my ghost. Now go and let me be!”

         “I didn’t mean to evoke

such anger and, Mr. Abbey,

         I never wanted to raise the dead!

         Though I can’t say if what I’m hearing is reality

or if I’m out of my head!

         It could be a delusion

caused by being so dehydrated.”

         “Don’t call me an illusion,

         damn you.

Just because my life has reached its conclusion

          doesn’t mean I’m through.”

         “Okay. Okay. I’m sorry.

What can I do

         to apologize for making the mistake of walking over your body?”

         “The voiced answered, “I don’t give a shit

about that which used to be me.

         You can piss on it

         and give life to the plants that grow above.

Just have some respect

         for the love

         people gave

in the decoration of

         my grave.”

         “I am sorry. I must say

 but perhaps you can save

         me some trouble and point me the way

         out of this mess?

This is my second day

         out here and my situation looks hopeless!”

         “You’re lost because you’re a damn fool!

I should leave you to your fate for being so thoughtless.

         The desert is most cruel

         to those who show no respect

for it’s rule.”

         I answered, “I was just trying to reconnect

         with nature and get out into the open air.”

Then I changed the subject,

         “Why is this place your ghostly lair?

         What about Heaven and the resurrection?

Shouldn’t you be up there?”

         “That’s a laugh! Though I’m sure it gave many a priest an erection

         to think that when they were dead

they would meet a god of their own reflection!

         I’m sorry to say you were misled

         into believing such tripe.

Those books you read

         were nothing but hype.

         I’ve been dead for years now and, for what its worth,

I’ve seen nothing of the type.

         People should remember where they were given birth.

         Cursed are those that worship the god in the sky

and neglect the Earth.

         Mother Earth alone judges those who die.”

         “So what you’re saying, I trust,

is that the Earth where our bodies lie

         is the one judging us! I suppose that would be just

         but with our conduct

if the Earth claims our souls when we bite the dust

         we are most certainly fucked!”


















“Come along with me”, Abbey said.

         “Perhaps it is best

         that I take you to the Land of the Dead

and you can return to tell the rest

         that the planet

         of the fate of those that messed

with it.”

         “I would rather go home instead.

         If you would let

me. The Land of the Dead

         can wait!”

         The voice said,

“I’m afraid it’s too late.

         The only way

         home is through Death’s Gate.

You can stay

         out here and die for sure

         or you may

come with me on this tour.”

         Abbey led me near

         an azure

water hole bottomless and clear.

         I thought it had to be mistake,

         a mirage that would surely disappear.

I went up to it and I saw a rattlesnake

          that made me stop.

          I tried not to make

any sudden moves even though I was about to drop

         from thirst.

         Then the snake slithered across the top

of the water hole and went in head first.

         I went up to that mysterious place

         and wondered if it was cursed.

I washed the dust from my face

         thankful it was no illusion.

         Never had water had a more sweet taste,

but when I gazed into the pool it wasn’t my reflection

         that appeared to me,

         Instead, it was an apparition

of my childhood dog, Dusty.

         “Dusty!” I shouted into the pool

         to the collie

that once waited for me every day after school.

         My faithful dog barked and wagged his tail.

         Back when I was a child and wandered out into the woods like a fool

he would always lead me back to the trail.

         I was so comforted by his vision,

         I felt I would not fail

on this mission.

         “This is the way”, Abbey said.

         Somehow I understood the situation

and I knew where my destiny led.

         I held one last breath inside

         and dove into pool and shed

my mortal skin and swam to the other side.




























After I dove in I left my body behind.

         It became fine sand and drifted away.

         I had become nothing but mind

and something I cannot say.

         I swam towards a light

         that pointed the way.

It was quite

         a distance.

         I surfaced right

before Ed Abbey who was waiting at the entrance.

         “There is no way to prepare

         you or build up your resistance

to the horrors you will find there.

         It is a land of dread

         filled with the foulest water and air.

There is the place for the worst of the dead.”

         I took a whiff and I nearly fell

         the odor was so wretched.

I could tell

         this odyssey

         was going to be hell!

“Where on Earth are we?

         This it is not the stuff

         they taught me about in Geology.”

“That’s because you didn’t dig deep enough.

         We’re at the entrance

         and from here it gets rough.

Your best chance

         is to stay close to my side.

         This is where the Earth punishes the arrogance

of all the men and women who died

         and had the bad habit    

         of being so blind

that they treated the Earth like a toilet.”

         I replied “I can tell already from this awful smell

         that I am about to enter a world of shit.”

“Yes, it is truly hell

         though not like some have planned.

         Most here don’t know why they fell

and they’ll never understand.

         Many cry for the angels to come down

         and lend a hand.

But no angels are to be found

         and all their cries are in vain.”

         So we continued further underground

following a drain

         and coming up from below

         we terrible cries of pain.



































We came to a door

            we could hear inside it was very loud

            but I couldn’t imagine the horror

we would find when we plowed

            inside and found

            such a massive crowd.

In this huge cavern, massive and round,

            I struggled to get air.

            My heart began to pound.

Oh how I wanted to get out of there!

            People were pushing and shoving with all their weight

            but they weren’t getting anywhere.

Some were screaming. Some were in a frenzied state.

            Some clawed each other but no matter how much they fought

            they could not escape their fate.

They seemed to be forever caught

            in this awful place.

            I struggled to move forward but it was all for naught.

There was simply no space!

            What I didn’t notice at first

            was that I standing on somebody’s face!

Of all those poor souls so horribly cursed,

            those down there below

            had it the worst.

But that was not the end of this horror show.

            The face I was standing on was standing on another’s face!

            Down and down it seemed to go

as if their was no end to this place.

            And more were coming in

            and filling up what was left of the space.

Abbey said, “Better start climbin’

            if you want to survive.

            The way this place is fillin’

we’re soon to be buried alive!”

            I scrambled up to the top

            of the massive hive.

“We have to move fast and don’t stop

            at all cost.

            If you drop

into this crowd, all will be lost!”

            As I stood up on someone’s head

             I asked, “Why are all these poor souls being tossed

in this pit of dread?”

            “Most of those who get this sort of reception

            are people who were misled

against contraception.

            They thought that the human seed

            was sacred without exception

and that the Earth was there to submit to their greed

            even though the present population

            is far more than we need.

And the preachers who preached every ejaculation

            was sacred are cursed to an even worse fate

            with all the copulation

adding to the weight

            that they will have to bear.

            Way down below you can hear them pray to God the Great

but he either doesn’t care

            or their prayers are swallowed

            and never reach His ear

because this place is so loud!

            I’ve heard that at the bottom of this

            massive crowd

was the author of the Book of Genesis.”

            I replied, “I remember that bit.

            I think the author was supposed to be Moses!”

“Well,” Abbey answered, “whoever he was he was a lousy shit

            for telling people to

            ‘replenish the Earth and subdue it’”

I confessed, “If I ever make it through

            and tell people about this

            it’s likely to brew

trouble and piss

            a lot of people off. They’ll hate me

            for telling them how it is.”

Abbey answered, “Fuck them! Those people live to be angry

            and think they have to die

            to be happy.”

The pile got so high

            we were up to the ceiling.

            Abbey and I

had the feeling

            that this crowd would keep growing and never stop

            and we would meet an end most unappealing.

Then Abbey found a trap door and we came out the top.







Then we found

         ourselves in a great open place.

         Above it was a giant video screen with no sound

showing a mouth stuffing its face.

         All around was a captive audience

         trying to keep pace.

They were feasting on some substance

         that was never gone.

         None of them were wearing pants

and they never objected to the show that was on.

         At first, I didn’t notice it

         but something was definitely wrong.

They were all sitting on a toilet

         and I was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell

         of all their shit.

I cried, “Now this is really hell!

         What is that horrible shit they eat?

         Why do they feast until

they are so fat you can’t even see their feet?”

         “They are those who just let life pass by          

         and let their life remain incomplete.

No will to really live. Too lazy to die.”

         “So they spend eternity in this hall

         never even blinking an eye

as they watch this endless commercial?”

         Abbey answered, “They don’t ever miss

         a moment or do anything at all.

So they sit in this abyss

         ever flowing

         with shit and piss

fully knowing

         their meal is so bland.

         but they keep right on going.”

I shook my head, “I don’t understand.”

         “They were given life but they wasted it.

         Obeying their TV’s one command,

‘Consume!’ Someday they’ll eat so much they’ll overflow their toilet

         and they will be over their head

         in shit.

         They would certainly drown if they weren’t already dead.”












































As the audience continued stuffing their face

         with more and more and more.

         We searched the place

looking for a door.

         When we finally found the exit

         we were looking for,

I said to Abbey “I bet

         it only gets worse!”

         “You’re right and I hope you can handle it.

This is a pretty tough course”

         he said as the door swung

         open with great force.

There was a long ladder leading down. When I stepped on the first rung

         the awful smell

         of fresh dung

was so bad I nearly fell.

         I couldn’t believe

         that the stench could get worse in this hell.

I begged for a reprieve.

         The stench was so thick

         I began to dry heave.

“I need to get off this ladder quick!”

         I had to shout

         “This air is making me sick!”

Then I looked about

         and the horrors I saw had such a impact

         that I passed out.

For a moment everything went black.

         Though this horror was so extreme

         in an instant I was back

amidst woke by an awful scream.

         Abbey said, “You don’t want to lose consciousness in

         this awful dream!”

I don’t know how to begin

         to describe what was happening around us.

         There were wretched souls lifted by their sin

towards a giant anus.

         There are no words

         to describe horrors so tremendous.

Terrible birds

         tore off their clothes and ripped through the skin.

         The smell caused them to puke and shit out runny turds.

I asked Abbey “What awful sin

         is causing these poor souls such dispair?”

         He answered “The reason

they are held up there

         as if suspended on a wire

         is because they sinned against the air.

The higher

         one floats the worse the soul.

         They are the ones who tried to set the world on fire

with money being their only goal.

         For their crimes they have a place

         reserved for them where that giant asshole

is forever farting in their face.

         Most are from the 20th Century

         and they filled the sky with waste.

The ones up high were men of industry

         who once owned factories

         and never once thought about the bird or the tree

they were poisoning. The lower ones once owned SUVs

         but never left town.

         They just used them to buy groceries.”

All I knew is that I wanted to get down

         and get down fast.

         I didn’t want to be around

the next time that asshole lets loose another blast!

         The smog was so thick

         I couldn’t see past

my next step but as I went down I felt less sick

         Then something grabbed my back.

         It was so quick

I didn’t have time to react.

         It pulled me off the ladder and down we went.

         I thought I was in for a freefall but, in fact,

that which grabbed me was slowing my descent.

         I heard a woman’s voice crying

         for help and when I bent

so I could see her, there was no denying

         it was with a wretched and naked soul

         of a woman that I was flying.

As we descended away from that awful asshole,

         I could finally see that this awful world

         was a giant toilet bowl

and below me fetid waters swirled!

         The woman screamed, “Please help me!

         I don’t know why I was hurled

into this place. The last thing I remember I was driving my humvee

         to the mall.

         I got the big vehicle for safety.

It was four wheel drive after all!

         I paid no mind to the snow

         and I slid off the road into the wall!

Still, I don’t know

         why I wound up in this place

         where this cruel wind blows

terrible farts in my face!”

         I yelled back, “You’re paying for all that exhaust!

         You’re a disgrace!

We have to pay a heavy cost

         for our greed.

         And now you’re lost

here because you drove a huge vehicle that you didn’t need!”

         Then terrible birds set upon her

         and I was freed.

“Now”, I thought, “I am truly done for!”

         because I was in a freefall

         and the dark water below would surely take me under!
















Just as I was about to crash

            I took one last breath.

            Then I hit the water making a tremendous splash

and plunged into it’s depth.

            I was sure

            I was about to meet Death.

and that would be the end of my tour.

            I went down so far on my dive

            I was nearing the ocean floor.

There were no fish. Nothing was alive.

            With garbage scattered everywhere

            it was easy to see how nothing could survive.

Then I saw horrible ghosts that gave me such a scare.

            Disfigured and monstrous souls drifted along.

            When they saw me, they decided to share

with me their song.

            “We were once rich and held in great renown

            from doing the ocean wrong.

But we are weighed down

            but all our profit

            so now we drown

in this Sea of Shit!”

            Then I felt something grab a hold of me

            and realized that I was caught in net

and being pulled out of the sea.

            Some of the singing ghosts were caught as well

            and we all struggled to get free.

The ghosts were gasping and I could tell

            that they could not breathe in the air.

            Then the net opened and we fell

onto the deck and the poor souls were left struggling there.

            Strange fishermen were pushing them into the hold.

            They had gills for lungs and scales for hair.

I got up and was just able to avoid being bowled

            into that icy pit

            so dark and so cold.

I knew if I fell in that would’ve been it.

            The fishermen paid no mind to me

            and on the deck to give me shit

was Abbey.

            “You’re lucky you didn’t drown

            in that awful sea.

That water is so polluted, so brown,

            I never thought

            I’d be able to track you down.”

“I never thought it was luck to be caught.

            Not even for a minute

            when was I brought

up in that cruel net!”

            The water was so savage

            I couldn’t believe it.

The surface was covered in garbage.

            Pitiful souls were struggling in the scum                             

            covered in nets, plastic bags, and raw sewage.

While some were caught in the flotsam,

            others struggled in the oil slick.

            Watching these poor souls succumb

to such horrors was enough to make me sick.

            There was a whale spearing a soul with a harpoon gun.

            Huge ships were dumping more poisons rancid and thick

by the ton.

            As the trawler brought in another net,

            I wondered what these poor souls could’ve done

to deserve this shit.

            “They all thought so vast was the ocean

            they could use it as a toilet

to wash away their sin.”
















I was thankful to set my feet upon land

         though what a horrible land it was.

         I saw feet sticking out of the sand.

Abbey told me the cause.

         “They were once leaders, politicians, and scientists.

         They saw the writing on the walls but didn’t pass any laws.

The Earth wasn’t among their interests

         even though the evidence was in their hand.

         Instead, they fought against the environmentalists

so now their heads are forever buried in the sand.”

         There were so many buried inverted

         that their moans could be heard through the land.

“See how the world perverted

         these men of education and class.

         They could have alerted

the people but they preferred to simply pass gas.

         I guess, all you can smell is shit

         with your head so far up your ass.”

At this point I wanted to quit.

         I was cold

         and wet.

This journey was getting old.

         All I wanted was to reach

         the end of this road.

“The Earth still has much to teach”,

         Abbey told me, “There is still much to do

         beyond this beach.

Unfortunately for you

         the only way out

         is through.

So don’t pout

         you haven’t seen the worst!

         We will learn about

so many others who are cursed

         as we go down.”

         “So where to first?”

I asked as I took a look around

         there were poor souls

         washed up on the beach. I found

some half man half fish caught in six pack holes.

         Others were struggling in black muck.

         I could only guess what roles

they played in life that brought them such bad luck.

         This was no beach for romantic

walks. There were dirty diapers, broken glass, hypodermic needles that stuck

         out of the sand. All sorts of plastic

         garbage strewn everywhere

and all I could hear was tragic

         cries of despair.

         Just when I was beginning to feel

this was all too horrible to bear,

         we saw something even more surreal.

         I was a soul of a vain woman recently dead

trapped in the body of a seal

         being clubbed in the head.

         The hunter, with a seal’s head and a body of a man,

threw the carcass into a truck bed.

         This bizarre world had a plan

         I was beginning to understand

that the way things ran.

         Nature had the upper hand!






















Condominiums lined the beach, of course,

            but I couldn’t imagine a view

            that could be any worse.

“Apparently, even this hell has its privileged few!”

            I said with bitter emotion.

            “I guess you can take it with you!”

Abbey answered, “I wouldn’t get the notion

            that hell is another plutocracy!

            Don’t let those condos along the ocean

inspire some jealousy.

            Look closer you will find

            it is not hypocrisy.

Even though there’s a golf course behind

            and swimming pools,

            it is only there to remind

the fools

            of what used to be.

            The condos are full of frightening ghouls

and they’re terribly shabby.”

            The door was open wide

            and I told Abbey

I didn’t want to find out what was inside.

            He insisted going in and I followed.

            There we found frightened souls trying to hide

and shit overflowed

            from every sink

            and every commode.

There was a terrible stink

            coming from the walls

            and the lights started to blink.

Alligators roamed the halls

            and we saw one devouring a shade without impunity.

            “These poor souls never answered nature’s calls.

They thought all their money and their gated community

            would protect them from the Earth’s fate

            but, instead, they found no immunity

when it all went to hell and it was too late.”

            Just then the floor caved

            under the alligators weight

revealing more frightened souls praying to be saved

            in the basement below.

            Abbey just waived

and said it was time to go.




The country club was especially strange.

            It had clean pools and a green lawn.

            It was well kept from the tennis courts to the driving range.

The pond had a white swan

            with no will to fly.

            When the sprinklers came on

there was no doubt why.

            It was desert all around

            and the air was hot and dry.

We walked across the saturated ground

            towards the river

            where we heard a terrible sound.

When we reached the bridge, the sight made me shiver

            when I peered down

            and saw damned souls quiver

and flop in a riverbed bone dry and brown.

            They made hoarse

            screams as they drown.

What made it worse

            was that instead of a hand or foot they had a fin

            and even if they managed to flop all the way up to the golf course.

Fish headed men would golf them back in.

            “The way we use water seems quite perverted

            if not a sin.

So much gets diverted

            for things we do not need.

            Golf courses, swimming pools, and fountains inserted

in the desert so typical of our greed.

            We drain the lake. We drain the river

            to support our hollow creed

that the Earth is only here to deliver

            us every luxury.”