Sahara Desert Caravan


car·a·van (ˈkarəˌvan), n. [Fr. caravone; OFr. karouan; Per. karwan, caravan],  1.  a company of travelers, especially of merchants or pilgrims traveling together for safety, as through a desert  2. a number of vehicles traveling together.  3. a large covered vehicle for passengers, circus animals, gypsies, etc.; van.



My Desert Caravan:

In Tucson, I have been completely and utterly blessed to have a company of travelers in the desert. These artists, writers, thinkers are not only companions for the journey but muses for my creative endeavors. They are my large-covered vehicle, my circus animals, my gypsies. They are truthtellers. They are truthseekers. They are oracles. They speak in poetry and image and they ask me the hard questions that my soul needs to be asked but dares not ask itself. I asked some of these members of my caravan to offer their own interpretation of caravan.

And in the spirit of a caravan, these posts, which begin now, will be continuing to move, expand, and add new members throughout the week. Join us.

Join us for the journey.


"traveling through the Sahara desert in Morocco," by Izabela Szatylowicz



(((the first string of camels))))


We enter into this line of hearts, strung across the horizon of desert like sanctuaries, each with a bright, open, door. We hitch. In here: plates of tortillas and beans are passed.  Someone plays guitar. Out there: the sun spreads muscular, casually pounding all things white. We move through daily desires, drink good, strong coffee.  Drink good, strong whiskey.  Drink good, clear water.  Some sleep, pulling dusty blankets to the ears.  Some scratch marks onto paper tablets.  Some murmur.  Rustle in crates.  Finally, humming blue dusk dips wild wings into the cooling night, flings it across. We stir. We stumble out through the doors into the milky rising tongue-spill of stars.  We bring out cloths, chairs, set the fire burning.  We pass thoughts back and forth, tender and delicate as onion skins, and begin sewing the day’s most important meal.

—Frankie Rollins



~            ~            ~~~                         ~~                        ~~~~~            ~            ~~~~~~



through city lights of the soul as companions

at the helm together, one atop a camel throne

a sound around our imagination belly


to press on,  landscapes intersexual and always dramatic

to press on,  mountains plunge peaks  into ecstatic promenade

to press on, moonlight soft /sharp spreading

to press on, as viscera animal


a feast  in the bosom of the cornucopia

a perpendicular and parallel circus

our roads are story



to travel is to become one letter at a time

to be together is to form a word

landscape is our molding

—Amanda Elizabeth Sapir






Cara. Van. Cara. Van. Cara. Care. Can you car-re? How much is enough to strap on our backs? How much is too much to car-ry?  How do we know? They care, the carried, the carrying. The care itself a bundle. Within that checkered napkin, pieces of desires, imaginings, uncertainties. A spoon for serving them up, a knife for cutting through.

This care, could you hold it? Could you place it somewhere for safekeeping? In your pocket perhaps. Tucked away in the corner of the carriage, nestled with the glass bottles, as they softly rattle. This place so full of nothing that the everything rushes into it, spills over sometimes. But the everything is welcome in a place that often feels scarce. It’s scarce or it’s overflowing; there is no in between.

A place of lushness can be scarce too, it’s fullness means you sometimes forget to trim back, forget to breathe. But in this place, the dearth is more obvious. There is openness across the horizon, all the space to dream and to despair. A wide-angle shot filled with brown earth. And the sky when it breaks apart in color—purples, reds, siennas raging strong across the firmament.


— &


This caravan a blessing. This caravan a hearse. And too, a bridal train. A band with trumpets and tubas and trombones. Those, and large thrumming drums. We are cloaked in feathers. This enveloping a sort of being reborn, a tentative step forward. We throw up our open hands and scatter colored glitter in the air. Particles cascade down unto our faces and our garments. And though this path is arduous, we do not tire. We tend each other’s shoulders and feet. We whisper soft words. And when we need to, we wail. Our cries echo into the blanket of deep blue. Our laughter is our becoming.

—Lisa O’Neill



((((((((((((((((((                 ))))))))))))))))))))             (((((((((                        ))))))))))))



He comes from down there, by the river.  She comes from up there, by the sea. That one comes from everywhere, up and down, left, right, and center, a big “x” already traced across the land before she arrives.  He comes from another, still the same yet different, and makes it anyway.    She came by covered wagon and made a diagonal from corner to corner like it says in the story books. He came with a dog. She put her dog down and came without him. He came across the sea. She came flying out of the sky with no parachute but five diamond rings. She comes from somewhere in the vast grey middle, and has forgotten how she got here in the first place. We all come from the vast grey middle, and have forgotten how we got here in the first place.   We all forget how we got here in the first place.  We have all forgotten how we got here in the first place. We all stay. As we stay we forget less. As we stay we remember more. And then: he leaves across the sea.  She takes off into the sky with a rocket pack filled with mountain fuel.  She re-traces her x and decides to stop where the axes meet. He turns into a lizard and has another incarnation. Her dog comes back to life in the form of a parrot. He goes back, to the river.   She goes back, to the sea. The river is a different river. The sea is a different sea. The wagon-canvas is a cape with wings. We forget why we came.  We forget why we left.  We remember, we remember, we remember.

—Julia Gordon


— &more&more&

Desert Caravan by Jure Oblak



1 Comment

Filed under weekly words

One response to “car·a·van

  1. Jim

    Thanks for the powerful images in word and photos. Reminded me of one of my favorite poems: A Ritual to Read to Each Other by William Stafford.
    …….And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
    but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park…
    And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
    a remote important region in all who talk:
    though we could fool each other, we should consider-
    lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

    For it is important that awake people be awake,
    or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
    the signals we give – yes or no, or maybe –
    should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

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