Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Peter O’Malley

Peter O’Malley
Kokopelli at the RV Park
It wasn’t irony, I’m sure, that put you there,
on the wall of an RV at Palm Desert,
but there you hang.
The desert, in retreat
outside the confines of this place,
is nowhere to be seen in this ersatz oasis,
with its royal palms and pavement,
water-sucking lawns and swimming pool
to help its denizens forget just where they are
and what was here before the bulldozers
came in to make the place more bland
and more appealing:
a phony Florida; where once
you played your flute to cactus and to snakes
and brought fertility and song.
Outside, in the desert,
saguaros stand with arms held high
as though to ward off blows;
or as if showing shock and horror
at what happened in this place.
At home, another image,
on a tile: your hunched back to the desert,
fleeing to the outside of the frame.
Peter O’Malley lives in Oakland, New Jersey, with his wife, Carol Ciancia. He holds a BA and an MA (Drew University) in English literature, as well as a law degree from Rutgers University (Newark). He is an amateur naturalist whose other interests include travel, sailing, bicycling, music, performance, and visual arts (drawing and pastel). Recent publications have appeared in Inkwell, Wayfarer, and Earthshine. Mr. O’Malley maintains a journal, Hawkfell, at


©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin