Living in A Dry Land

by Nolo Segundo

They who choose to live in a dry land
must live a very dry life—
too parched to sing, too dried out by what
they call ‘reason’ to see they have made
it hollow, a partial thing, a blind thing…

They have made their world so arid even
hope is scorched while the human is left
desiccated, no wetness left for good or
evil, not even for the inscrutable miracle
of love—
for in their sere minds all of life shrivels,
left scorched, withered—burnt fragments
that were once honor, courage, faith—now 
they see only an empty desert bounded by 
death, extinction, nothingness…

A man once came to them, to that desert
their seared souls had made. He offered
them water, water to quench their thirst,
to moisten their minds, to make green 
and lush once again their world, all done
with water, the holiest of water that would 
lead them from a paradise to Paradise.

A few drank of the water, the water of
life and hope and awareness—
the water of Eternity—
but the others refused it, fearing the
man who brought it so much, 
they killed him.

Two thousand years later, 
some drink from His water of Life
and others choose a shriveled life,
too dry for hope, too dead for any

Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J.Carber, in his 70s, became a published poet in over 80 literary journals/anthologies in 7 countries (such as Heart of Flesh, Ekstasis, Time of Singing) and 2 trade book collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020] and Of Ether and Earth [2021]. The titles, like much of his work, reflect the awareness he’s had since having an NDE whilst almost drowning in a Vermont river: that he has—is—a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets and other people once called the soul. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2022 by Spirit Fire Review, he’s retired from teaching English/ESL in America, Japan, Taiwan and Cambodia (leaving there before the time of the Killing Fields), who has been married 42 years to a smart and beautiful Taiwanese woman.

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