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The newspaper headlines told me so.
As I was reading the article in my bed,
eating a handful of Oreos, I thought
about being wet.

Not the kind of wet (slipperyslidyfuntimes)
you want to be,
but the kind of wet you feel in your bones.
Wet like the time my grandfather left me and my sister
watching his tackle box by the side of the road
in Toronto in six inches of slush that
was slowly seeping into my socks,
while he bought cigarettes from the man
in the oversized poncho at the gas station.

And there are cities full of dreams
and cities full of dirt,
but Las Vegas is neither of those.
It’s a city instead with no name or face,
nothing recognizable you can reach out and touch.
Someone told me once that in Spanish
Las Vegas means “the fields.”

My grandfather told me once
on a fishing trip, while I sat
on top of his tackle box,
about the Asphodel fields.
How these Romans believed
people whose sins equaled the good they did
went to the Asphodel fields, and drank
from a river that made them forget themselves,
and became ghosts
who flit like shadows on the banks.
I liked the stories about heroes better;
when my grandfather told those
he’d hit his knee and let me sit there
and hold his cigarettes while he was talking.

Back in the Tunnels of Las Vegas,
the people have started a library,
sealing their books in plastic wrap
and keeping them in blue crates
marked alphabetically by title.
In the fields above, men with no faces
sluggishly slip dollars into the thong
of a stripper who can no longer smile.
A girl in the tunnels pulls out a book on Toronto
and learns about snow.
My grandfather sits in a nursing home
connected to an oxygen tank, and tells
my son about Hades and how
under the Asphodel fields was the marsh,
where the river Lethe would flood and
1000s of souls, from time to time,
would fall into the cold wet water
and be taken in the current to
The Elm, where false dreams cling.

As I walk with my son to the car,
a man in a poncho, driving too fast
hits a puddle and splashes us with water.
The Oreos in my son’s pocket immediately
turn to mush, and his socks become
uncomfortably wet.

The Tunnel People from Las Vegas
have been there for five years,
fashioning a shower out of a water cooler,
hanging paintings on the walls,
kissing, smiling, having dates,
and living with cool water up to their ankles.
I tell my son not to worry about being wet,
and he smiles at me and I smile at him
and we drive home to our house in Toronto
far away from fields.

A man in the tunnels finds a tackle box,
that has washed in with the flood.
Opening it, he finds inside there is a note
that says “Sorry about the snow, love Grandpa.”
Researching with a team of scientists,
he writes an article about how double-stuffed
Oreos do not have double the icing.

The stripper in Las Vegas gets off her shift
and drinks vodka straight from the bottle,
trying to forget. Always trying
to forget. She walks outside. It is snowing,
in Las Vegas, just like it snowed when she
was a child, at home, in Toronto. She calls
her sister. I pick up the phone
and say “Hello.”
Inspired by the poem Donald Duck in Danish by Albert Goldbarth.
For a college workshop I'm attending,
a little out of my comfort zone.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-10-17
People Living in Tunnels Under Las Vegas by ~Drastic-Afterthought The imagery and the story told between the verse is filled with contrast that makes it a rather unique piece ( Suggested by SolidMars and Featured by inknalcohol )
:iconbluediamondsnow:
BlueDiamondSnow Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! Superb! This is a great think piece that puts everyone out of their comfort zone-- in a good way.
Reply
:iconglo-stikz:
Glo-stikz Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the way you connect everything together, from the Oreos to the tackle box. It's amazing :love:
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
Reply
:icondiphylla:
diphylla Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Congrats on the Daily Deviation! :pumpkin:
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
i've been without internet and just saw
:D
Reply
:icondiphylla:
diphylla Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome! :heart:
Reply
:iconshaozchampion:
ShaozChampion Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Beautiful. For you to be out of the comfort zone for a moment, you earned a DD ^^. Well deserved for this piece
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much. :heart:
Reply
:iconocean-whispers:
ocean-whispers Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013   Writer
it all comes together at the end.  this poem is sort of like a 123 321 style, i think. 

great job and congratulations on your DD! 
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
:heart:
Reply
:iconfawnspirit24:
Fawnspirit24 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
This is amazing. :) Well deserved DD!
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
:heart:
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
:heart:
Reply
:iconxxspiritualartistxx:
xXSpiritualArtistXx Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Absolutely fantabulous!
This is incredible and lovely and amazing and I can't think of a way suitable enough to describe it~ :heart:
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much! :D
Reply
:iconpostjudgement:
PostJudgement Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love it!
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thanks a lot!
Reply
:iconjirachichu:
Jirachichu Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Being someone who's lived in Vegas their entire life, I actually have never seen snow
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
you should definitely see some if possible.
=)
Reply
:iconstlcrazy:
stlcrazy Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
Really nice, very impressed.
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you! :heart:
Reply
:iconspider123357:
spider123357 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Student Writer
Beautifully written! 
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you! 
Reply
:iconspider123357:
spider123357 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Student Writer
You're welcome
Reply
:iconrema-alkhany:
Rema-Alkhany Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
nice,thanks
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thanks! :heart:
Reply
:iconrookanga1945:
Rookanga1945 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist
I don't have any words for how I feel about this, but I wanted to comment to let you know that iI appreciate it.
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
:heart:
Reply
:iconmiwag:
MiWag Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
Thank you very much for this! I love it!
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you for the comment!
:heart:
Reply
:iconari-heart-matsuri:
Ari-Heart-Matsuri Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the way the people in this poem are all connected to each other. Profoundly beautiful, and it's really moving. This is one of the poems that will stick with me. 
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you for the comment! :heart:
Reply
:iconari-heart-matsuri:
Ari-Heart-Matsuri Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's truly amazing <3
Reply
:iconsciencevsart:
sciencevsart Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The words and verses are like music. Sad, happy harps and quiet pianos. The pictures you paint are so painful and bright.
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much
:heart:
Reply
:iconsquirrels-are-evil:
squirrels-are-evil Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What a fantastic read, the suprise at the end even caught me. Very good work here
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much,
i'm glad you liked it
:heart:
Reply
:iconkanepaws:
KanePaws Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
...the man
in the oversized poncho at the gas station.


There are ponchos of the "well-sized" variety? :confused:
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
haha, some better than others!
thanks for the comment!
:heart:
Reply
:iconthetasigma7:
ThetaSigma7 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thought provoking. Emotion prodding. Inspirational piece.
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much!
:heart:
Reply
:iconthetasigma7:
ThetaSigma7 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Quite welcome!
Reply
:iconoverundertime:
overUnderTime Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
Comfort zone habitation can beget forgetfulness; many ('try' to) forget in order 'become' comfortable.  [Jeg håber Goldbarth kan godt lide dit output, her.]
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you! [Jeg kan kun håbe, at han ville blive underholdt.]
Reply
:iconblacksand459:
Blacksand459 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Excellent!!! This is one of the best poems I've read in a long time. (And I read poems everyday.) 

 

 Congrats on a well-earned DD! :D :clap:

 

 

Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you!
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on having your piece featured as one of today's Daily Deviations! :glomp:
Reply
:icondrastic-afterthought:
Drastic-Afterthought Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you so much.
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome! :glomp:
Reply
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