If ya have to ask, you don’t belong there.
The lake bed is a Euclidean plane
with zillions of dry fractal cracks.
The parched Nevada mountains of the Black
Rock Desert rise on three sides. Point the front
of the vehicle into emptiness and launch.
Gaseous tails of flying white dust spurt up
like jet exhaust. Cars and trucks leave huge wakes
on the horizon, like white prairie fires.
The place feels like the afterlife. When you
walk across it, you just drift over
endless cracked whiteness, lifting your feet
maybe a quarter inch from the surface.
The alkali dust is like a fine and
bitter talcum. Just throw off your clothes.
Colored strings of chemglow out in the desert,
woven through the spokes of bicycles and
mysteriously revolving. Huge dramatic
bowl of desert stars overhead. Fireworks
and flying flares casting a lurid trench-
warfare glow above the massive camp.
Pagan hierophants in tall headdresses
and silver lamé march in slow step,
toting flaming standards of arcane device.
Swarms of nude dancers caper up in
bizarre sword-and-sorcery bondage gear.
The soundtrack switches to repeated, insane,
bestial screaming. An awe-inspiring insect
goddess – a hunchbacked bug on red stilts – comes
towering and toppling into the firelight.
Amy is an imaginative child. This
is awful! It’s like a living nightmare!
They go at it hot and heavy, booming-
A guy got killed last night.
He rear-ended a truck while zooming
along the darkened playa on a blacked-
out motorcycle. At night somebody
constructs a fake constellation. Faking
the stars, cutting-and-pasting the desert
sky. Flat on his back, he looks like a giant
abandoned packing crate, but when he’s
catapulted into standing position,
he becomes a striking neon symbol
of pretty much everything that matters.
It’s time to finally burn the Man.
They fire up the guy, and he explodes
in sheets of colored fireworks and giant
livid gouts of flames. Burn him!
Amy is screaming, wriggling like an eel.
(From Greetings from Burning Man! August 1996)